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Virginia man facing eviction kills 2, himself

/ Source: The Associated Press

A man who was about to be evicted opened fire on workers coming to inspect his apartment, killing two and wounding three before committing suicide, police said Thursday.

William T. Smith opened his door Wednesday afternoon at the Thalia Gardens complex and began shooting with an AK-47 assault rifle and a Mac 10, a 9mm semiautomatic handgun, police spokeswoman Margie Long said.

Smith, 52, fatally shot 63-year-old maintenance technician Sam Shestul inside the two-story brick apartment building where Smith lived on the first floor, Long said. The other workers ran outside, but Smith followed them, still shooting, she said.

Officers arrived to find maintenance technician Rebecca Diane Hughes, 32, dead in the parking lot and three injured people. Most of the victims were shot multiple times and none had been armed, Long said.

Police did not release the identities of the wounded, but Long said two were maintenance technicians and one was a community manager at the Thalia Gardens complex. At least one was in stable condition Thursday, Long said.

Smith went back inside the building, but police were not certain where he was when they arrived, Long said.

'I was terrified'
Several streets were closed off Wednesday night and residents were told to stay indoors while police searched for the gunman, and a nearby high school was locked down. Most students had been sent home for the day.

Toni Spera, 25, said she had been shopping for Easter presents for her 4-year-old son when she returned Wednesday night to see police surrounding her apartment complex about 12 miles from the resort city's famed oceanfront.

"I was terrified," Spera said Thursday outside the sprawling complex.

"It is utterly devastating that these people who we knew were killed so viciously," she said.

Background check on gunman
SWAT team members began issuing orders by loudspeaker to the gunman to come out around 7 p.m. Police entered the building and found the bodies of Smith and Shestul after 10 p.m.

It wasn't immediately known when Smith died, but Long said police fired no shots.

Long said police were checking to see if Smith had permits for the guns. She said she could not comment on whether he had a criminal record.

S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. manages the property. A woman answering the phone at the company's office in nearby Norfolk on Thursday said no one was available to comment.