WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Law enforcement launched tear gas canisters into an auto body shop and used a Taser to safely take a gunman into custody Tuesday, more than three hours after he shot an employee and barricaded himself inside.
The shooter, Michael Sean Taylor, was spray painting the shop’s windows black so that officers couldn’t see inside and deputies decided to break through the door, York-Poquoson Sheriff Danny Diggs told reporters.
“The situation just deteriorated,” Diggs said. “He broke off contact with us. He was doing some other things that led us to believe that this was not going to end well.”
Diggs did not identify the victim. But he said the man was listed in stable condition Tuesday afternoon. Taylor was charged with attempted murder and related counts before being sent to jail without bond.
Earlier in the morning, Taylor, 40, of Hampton, Virginia, had walked into Ebby’s Auto Painting & Collision Repair in Williamsburg to settle an undisclosed dispute with one of its employees, Diggs said. Taylor fired several shots from a handgun, authorities said.
At least nine employees were working inside the building. As they fled, Diggs said one person was taken hostage for “a few minutes” before Taylor let the person go.
The employees rushed their wounded co-worker outside to a parking lot. Sheriff’s deputies and EMS personnel administered first aid before taking the man to the hospital.
Diggs said sheriff’s deputies had “intermittent” communications with Taylor as they tried to negotiate with him to surrender. Area schools locked down and a hospital limited access to visitors.
Diggs said during negotiations that police had tried to respond to Taylor’s requests “as best we could.” But the talks eventually broke down.
Bystanders could hear several bangs as the sheriff’s deputies stormed the building. Diggs said they sent four rounds of tear gas into the auto body shop before using an explosive charge to break through a large steel door.
Diggs declined to release more details about Taylor’s alleged actions in order to ensure “he gets a fair trial.”
He also praised the work of his deputies, saying “we are very pleased that no one else got injured.”
Diggs confirmed that Taylor was charged in 2001 in nearby Norfolk with felony malicious wounding, although he said Taylor was ultimately convicted of assault and battery.
Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.