Martinsville man, wanted for multiple felonies, apparently kills himself while barricaded inside home

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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — Deputies from the Henry County Sheriff’s Office responded to an assault call on Saturday morning only to find the suspect barricaded inside his residence.

According to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office, authorities received a 911 call at 9:58 a.m. about an assault at 3288 Green Hill Drive in Martinsville.

The resident and victim, Ashley Lynn Justus, 28, reported that her mother’s boyfriend, Michael T. Purdue, 43, struck Justus in the head with a gun and tried to choke her. Justus reported that Purdue threatened to kill himself, but he fled in his car.

Authorities found Purdue’s vehicle at his home at 966 Dyers Store Road at 10:15 a.m. Purdue barricaded himself inside the house and refused to leave.

The Sheriff’s Office obtained warrants to arrest Purdue on felony counts of abduction, strangulation, and use of a firearm while committing a felony, as well as a misdemeanor count of assault and battery.

After several unsuccessful attempts by Sheriff’s Office negotiators to contact Purdue, investigators waited until they obtained a search warrant to enter Purdue’s residence.

When a tactical unit entered the home at approximately 3 p.m., they found Purdue already dead from “an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” say Henry County officials.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the Western District of Virginia will conduct the autopsy to determine Purdue’s cause and manner of death.

Anyone with information about this incident should contact the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at (276) 638-8751.


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