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Police say property dispute apparently led to Virginia shooting

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Three dead in Virginia shooting
  • NEW: Shooting was result of a property dispute, police said
  • Police: The man was killed by sheriff's deputies after turning his gun and a dog on them
  • No deputies were wounded in the shooting Sunday afternoon in Louisa, Virginia
  • Shootings

(CNN) -- A property dispute between family members apparently led to a shooting in which a man killed two people in the central Virginia town of Louisa before he was shot by police, authorities said.

Four others were wounded when the man began shooting outside a home Sunday afternoon, police said.

"This was part of a property dispute," Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said Monday. "Due to a death in the family, there was a dispute over who owns the property, and who has rights to it."

The shooter, Charles "Zeke" Sponaugle Sr., had been living at the property recently, Geller said.

The incident began when deputies responded to a report of an argument at the home, police said. Believing the situation had been resolved, the deputies left the home.

But shortly before 5 p.m., authorities received another call about an active shooting at the residence, said Maj. Donnie Lowe of the Louisa County Sheriff's Office.

When officers arrived, a man was shooting at people in the front yard. Two people were killed and four were wounded, said Sgt. Thomas Molnar of the Virginia State Police.

The man then directed his gunfire at police and released a pit bull terrier on them, authorities said.

"Based on evidence at the scene, as soon as deputies arrived they were in an active shooting situation," Geller said. She said authorities believe that return fire from deputies killed both the suspect and the dog. No deputies were wounded.

"Since 2000, deputies have been to this property 23 times," Lowe said. "The calls were pretty much all the same -- family arguments, people not getting along -- nothing really violent, mostly verbal."

He added, "You can't predict something like this."

The four wounded people were taken to the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, Molnar said.

CNN's Chuck Johnston and Leslie Tripp contributed to this report.