The man retreated inside, touching off an hours-long standoff and siege that ended early Tuesday with the grisly discovery of three bodies by a police SWAT team that entered the home.
Police believe 36-year-old Marcellus William Bounds IV shot his mother, Patricia Marie Bounds, 67, and his nephew Sean Patrick Bailes, 19, before eventually turning the gun on himself and taking his own life amid an “ongoing family issue that escalated,” police said at a Tuesday news conference.
“During the argument, it appears the victims fled to different parts of the home to avoid harm from the suspect,” said Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. “When the suspect found Victim 1 in the bedroom he immediately shot that victim. The suspect then immediately located Victim 2 in a bathroom and shot that victim.”
The barricade situation and the protracted rescue operation left neighbors shaken, some of whom said they hid in a closet or basement as the gunfire erupted and police battered the home during the attempted rescue. Windows were broken out, a garage door was smashed to pieces on the driveway and numbered yellow markers littered the front lawn Tuesday morning as detectives marked shell casings and other evidence.
“We were torn between keeping our families safe and watching what was going on,” said Sarah Wierschke, who lives three houses from the scene.
The incident began unfolding shortly before 9:15 p.m. Monday. After the initial 911 call, Roessler said, officers were on the scene within three minutes and quickly organized into a tactical formation behind the ballistic shield to approach the home. The officers were hoping to enter a rear sliding-glass door on a deck, but the gunman opened fire. Roessler said it was unclear whether the return fire from the officer hit Marcellus Bounds.
Roessler said officers evacuated one of the injured officers and the SWAT team and negotiators were called in.
Liz Lambert, a resident on the block, said she heard a total of about 10 gunshots in two quick bursts. She also said she saw an officer holding his head as if he had been hurt. He was being escorted down the street by two other officers, Lambert said.
She said she was reassured to see that the officer was walking.
By the time Bounds opened fire on officers, he had already killed his mother and nephew, Roessler said.
Negotiators attempted to make contact with Bounds but were unsuccessful, Roessler said. The SWAT team then used “various tactical methods” to enter the home to locate the shooter and victims, Roessler said. Those efforts damaged the windows and garage door.
More than four hours after the barricade situation began, the SWAT team entered the home and found the family members dead. Relatives did not respond to The Washington Post’s requests for comment.
A state medical examiner will conduct autopsies to confirm a cause and manner of death.
Wierschke said she saw police cruisers with their emergency lights on speed onto the block sometime before 10 p.m. Officers popped out with guns drawn and shouted at residents to get back in their homes.
Wierschke said she heard two “cycles” of gunfire. The first encompassed a few shots, followed by shouts of “Officer down!”
Sometime later, Wierschke said, she heard a second volley of seven or eight shots.
Wierschke said she and her husband moved their children into the basement to keep them safe.
Wierschke described Patricia Bounds as “wonderful” and said she had lived in the home for as long as she had been in the neighborhood, which was about five years.
“We said lots of prayers with our family,” Wierschke said.
Martin Weil and Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.