Gunmen kill man in morning attack on Centreville, Va., mansion

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Two gunmen launched an attack Monday morning on a massive brick mansion in the Centreville area and the five people inside, Fairfax County police said.

The gunmen entered through the four-car garage, and one of the people inside dialed 911 and screamed for help, police said. Some of the residents began to fight with the intruders inside the garage, and then at least one shot was fired.

The gunmen fled into the woods along Bull Run, the creek dividing Fairfax from Prince William County, and escaped. But one man who fought with the assailants fell to the ground in the driveway outside the mansion and died.

Despite a rapidly organized dragnet, which included a police helicopter and a tracking dog trained in following human scent, the attackers got away. Police had no suspects in the fifth homicide of the year in Fairfax.

The dead man's name was not released Monday. Police said he was an acquaintance of the family that owns the home but did not live there.

No one else was hurt. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, and investigators erected a tent over him to protect his body and the evidence as they began investigating in the steady rain.

The incident began at 10:43 a.m. as the men entered the attached garage of the 9,000-square foot, six-bedroom, nine-bath Tudor mansion in the 14200 block of Compton Road, just east of Route 28. Police aren't sure how the men entered the garage, but the family living inside -- two parents and two adult children -- were all home, along with the acquaintance, Fairfax police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said.

One resident called the police. Other family members and the victim "got into an altercation" in the garage and then the driveway, Caldwell said. During the altercation, "the shooting occurred right outside the garage area," Caldwell said.

The owner of the house is a Prince William businessman who owns several companies, including a check-cashing store, public records show. Police don't know whether the man was targeted or whether the invasion was random.

"We do not think the suspects were known to the victim or the family," Caldwell said. "We do not believe that the suspects knew the people" who lived in the house, she said.

A man who answered the phone inside the home Monday said the family was not ready to discuss the incident.

It was not disclosed whether anything was stolen from the home or any doors or windows were forced open.

The gunmen were described as two black men in their 20s, both about 5-foot-10 and wearing dark clothes. One man was described as light-skinned with a beard and mustache, and the other was dark-skinned with a goatee, Caldwell said. Anyone with information about the killing is asked to call CrimeSolvers at 866-411-TIPS (8477).

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