Husband shoots wife in Loudoun County murder-suicide, sheriff’s office says

January 8

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said the preliminary investigation of a murder-suicide in Aldie shows that a husband shot and killed his wife and fired at his mother-in-law before killing himself Tuesday night.

Authorities did not release the couple’s names, but a person close to the investigation identified them as Sodhi S. Chahal, 43, and his wife, Mandeep K. Chahal, 36. Two children, ages 12 and 16, were in the house at the time but were not hurt, authorities said. The mother-in-law suffered a wound to the arm.

“The preliminary investigation indicates that during the domestic altercation, the husband fired several rounds at his wife and her mother before taking his own life,” said Liz Mills, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.

The violence was rare for Loudoun, where only one homicide was reported last year. In 2012, there were no homicides in the county.

Sodhi S. Chahal worked for the Washington Flyer as a taxi driver “on and off” for about 20 years, said John Massoud, vice president of Dulles Airport Taxi. On Wednesday, a Washington Flyer cab was parked in the driveway of the house.

Property records showed Chahal and his wife owned the home.

Massoud said he was close with Chahal while he drove for the company and could hardly believe the news. He remembered Chahal as respected among other drivers and said he was “always friendly, always nice.”

“He’s the last person you’d expect to do anything like this,” Massoud said.

The sudden act of violence left nearby residents struggling with shock and sorrow. Several said the couple and their children had always been friendly, and one said Chahal helped neighbors by cutting their grass. Neighbors also said they were stunned to see their community — a series of townhouses in a sprawling, well-kept development — transformed by the flashing lights of law enforcement vehicles.

“My wife tried to come home around 11 p.m., but they still had the house at gunpoint,” Carl Madison said. He said he didn’t know his neighbors well but was disturbed to learn of the shootings. “We’re still in a state of shock about what happened,” he said.

Barbara Davis, who lives a few doors away from the house where the shooting took place, said her son had walked to middle school with one of the couple’s sons. In her living room Wednesday, she wiped away tears as she spoke of the two young boys, and said she wanted to try to organize a community effort to raise money for their future.

Davis said she felt it was the least the community could do.

“I just can’t imagine, the shock of hearing gunfire,” she said. “And then your life is changed indelibly, in the worst possible way.”

Dana Hedgpeth and Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.

Caitlin Gibson covers Loudoun County for The Washington Post.
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