Man fatally shot in domestic homicide in Loudoun County, authorities say

A 52-year-old Washington airports authority police officer was shot to death Friday night, allegedly by his wife in their home on a cul-de-sac in Sterling, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said.

Cpl. Steven Spradling, a 25-year veteran of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, was found dead about 9 p.m. in the house in the 21700 block of Blossom Drive.

Rosangela Spradling, 42, was charged with first-degree murder. She was being held at the county jail without bond.

Their two young children were in the home at the time of the shooting, authorities said. The children were not harmed and are staying with family friends, the officials said. They declined to say whether the children witnessed the shooting.

Loudoun Chief Deputy Chris Harmison said that deputies had been called to the house for domestic disputes in the past but that there were no arrests for physical violence.

“There were past incidents” of domestic troubles, Harmison said. “Our records don’t show any recently, in 2013. There were some in the past.”

A next-door neighbor, Lori Cole, said, “I’ve seen cop cars at their house many times . . . but I never saw her go to the hospital or be bruised.”

Cole said that she had twice received threats from Steven Spradling. Harmison said that Spradling had never been arrested for menacing his neighbors but that investigators would review records to check for prior complaints.

“I was afraid of him,” Cole said. She said that she did not like being outdoors when he was outside and that she often parked in her garage and entered her house from there to avoid him.

Cole, who said she was well acquainted with the couple, said the two had met at Dulles Airport, where Rosangela Spradling originally worked shining shoes and Steven Spradling was a police officer.

Cole said the couple’s two children, a boy and a girl, were about ages 10 and 7.

Rob Yingling, a Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokesman, said he did not know where Spradling worked, adding that he could have worked at Dulles International Airport or Reagan National Airport or on the Dulles Toll Road.

Airports authority officials said in a statement that they were “deeply saddened” by Spradling’s death. “Our condolences are with his loved ones during this difficult time,” the statement said.

Cole said she discovered that something was wrong Friday night when she went outside to let her cat in and found the street full of police cars. She said there were also helicopters overhead.

Harmison said that Steven Spradling had been shot with a handgun but that it was not his service weapon, which was found secured in his locker at work. Harmison declined to say where in the house Spradling was found.

The Spradlings’ home is a two-story, orange-brick structure with beige shutters. Bright-pink roses and azaleas were in bloom beside the white front door Saturday.

Augustina Ampeh, the Spradlings’ other next-door neighbor, said she had lived beside them since 1999 and never became friends with the couple, although their children sometimes played together.

“You can’t ever put a foot on his yard” without him coming outside to yell, she said. She added that Rosangela Spradling was seldom seen and wasn’t very sociable, either. “I was scared of them,” she said.

At first, before Steven Sprad­ling got married, Ampeh said, she thought he was testy because he didn’t like children. She was optimistic that the relationship would improve when he got married and became a father. That was not the case, she said.

But she was stunned to hear that he had been killed. She saw him Friday morning, she said, when she drove by as he was working in the yard. She slowed down and said, “Good morning, Steve,” as she often did.

“I would try and think, ‘Maybe today will be a good day,’ ” she said. But as usual, he did not respond.

Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.

Michael Alison Chandler writes about schools and families in the Washington region.
Mike is a general assignment reporter who also covers Washington institutions and historical topics.
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