Virginia rest stop shooting puts 4 in hospital, suspect found dead: police

The shooting began as a domestic dispute, authorities said

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Four people were shot at a rest stop in Virginia Sunday morning and the suspected gunman was later found dead, police said. 

Virginia State Police said the shooting began as a domestic dispute between a man and a woman at a Frederick County Rest Area along Interstate 81 around 9:30 a.m. 

Interstate 81 in Virginia. 

Interstate 81 in Virginia.  (Google  Maps)

Several individuals tried to intervene for the woman's safety, VSP said. The man, whom state police identified as 34-year-old Cesar Juarez Avila, allegedly started firing at the woman and the individuals. The woman and three men were shot, police said. 

The suspect fled the scene in a Chevrolet Malibu. Virginia State Police and the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene. 

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An ambulance carried the woman and two men to Winchester Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The third male was flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital for serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. 

Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation. 

Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation.  (Virginia State Police)

A Frederick County Sheriff's Deputy spotted the Chevrolet Malibu traveling on Airport Road in Frederick County shortly after 12 p.m. When the deputy and state police approached the vehicle, the driver sped away, and a short pursuit ensued, police said. 

Law enforcement positioned their vehicles around the suspect's car, forcing the driver to come to a stop. Police said the officers witnessed shots being fired inside the vehicle. When they approached the vehicle, they saw Avila in the driver's seat suffering from a gunshot wound, police said. 

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Avila was taken to Winchester Medical Center, where he reportedly succumbed to his injuries. His body was transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Manassas for autopsy and examination. 

A rest area in Frederick County.

A rest area in Frederick County. (Virginia State Police)

A handgun was later recovered from inside the Malibu. State police said no law enforcement officers discharged their weapons during this incident. 

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The southbound rest area was closed to the public during the investigation and reopened around 4 p.m.