Fairfax man arrested in father’s slaying

July 21, 2011

A Springfield man accused of fatally shooting his father was arrested early Thursday morning after U.S. marshals tracked him to a Scranton, Pa., hotel where he was staying under his father’s name, authorities said.

Richard Hanson, 53, was being held in Pennsylvania, awaiting extradition to Virginia to face a second-degree murder charge in the slaying of his father, 75-year-old Gary Hanson, authorities said.

Gary Hanson was found dead in his home in the 7600 block of Chancellor Way in Springfield about 6 p.m. Tuesday after Fairfax County officers responded to a report of a shooting, authorities said.

The U.S. Marshals Service said in a news release that he had been shot in the head four times. Fairfax police would not comment Thursday on what they think might have led to the shooting.

On Wednesday, Fairfax police said they were trying to locate Richard Hanson, who was listed as missing and endangered because of a medical problem. Initially, Fairfax police said he was not a suspect. But on Wednesday night, they said a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

Martin J. Pane, acting U.S. marshal for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, said D.C. area marshals tipped off their Pennsylvania counterparts Wednesday that Richard Hanson might be in Scranton, driving his parents’ 1998 Saturn. The car was later found at a Scranton hotel, the Red Carpet Inn on Franklin Avenue, where the suspect was staying under his father’s name, authorities said.

Marshals and officers with the Scranton police SWAT team cleared out rooms near Hanson’s and then prepared to burst in, Pane said. But just after midnight, Hanson came out, not knowing that authorities were outside, Pane said.

“He just kind of walked out — was in shock, you know,” Pane said. “He didn’t know that we were there.”

The Marshals Service said in a news release that Richard Hanson was “believed to have in his possession a handgun used in the commission of the crime.” Pane said officers took Hanson into custody without incident and impounded the Saturn. He said he could neither “confirm nor deny” whether the gun or other evidence was found in the car or at the scene.

Fairfax police detectives traveled to Scranton on Thursday to interview Richard Hanson, said Officer Bud Walker, a Fairfax police spokesman. Walker said that he could not comment on details of the crime or the arrest and that he could not say when Hanson might be extradited to Virginia.

Richard Hanson lived in the Chancellor Way house with his parents and younger brother, neighbors said. Efforts to reach other relatives Thursday were unsuccessful.

Neighbors have said the Hansons seemed friendly and normal and were known for their beautifully tended home. Gary Hanson and his elder son enjoyed golfing together, although the father suffered a stroke in recent years and became less active, neighbors have said.

Staff researcher Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.
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