Accused Ebby's shooter pleads guilty to malicious assault, attempted murder charge dropped


The man accused of shooting an Ebby's Auto Painting and Collision employee pleaded guilty to seven charges Thursday in York County Circuit Court, including malicious assault, but an attempted murder charge against him was dropped, according to online court records.

Michael Sean Taylor, 40, of Hampton, pleaded guilty to malicious assault, two charges of abduction by force/intimidation, three firearm charges and shooting into an occupied building in connection to the shooting at Ebby’s Auto Painting and Collision near Merrimac Trail just before 9 a.m. July 25, 2017. A attempted first-degree murder charge and an additional firearms charge were dropped, online court records state.

Taylor’s pre-sentencing report will be presented at a 1 p.m. June 28 hearing in York County Circuit Court, according to online records.

According to a criminal complaint filed by the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office with the York County General District Court, Taylor said he intended to shoot the victim and hoped the victim would die.

Taylor was looking for the victim when he went into the business, according to the criminal complaint.

Once inside, Taylor approached Eddy's employee Chaz Hall and demanded to see "Joey the painter," Joseph St. Clair, and Taylor fired his handgun down into a pillar near the entrance of the building, the complaint stated.

According to the complaint, Taylor told Hall he would kill him if he wasn’t taken to St. Clair. After also encountering Ebby’s owner Edward Hall, the complaint states Taylor forced both to the garage of the body shop at gunpoint.

When Taylor reached the bay in which St. Clair was working on a car, Taylor shot St. Clair in the abdomen, causing him to fall, the complaint states. While St. Clair was on the ground, Taylor continued to fire his weapon at him, striking him multiple times.

St. Clair was hospitalized for his injuries but has recovered, and three of his Ebby’s co-workers and two employees from Holiday Chevrolet Cadillac received commendations from the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office for their actions in helping to save St. Clair’s life.

Taylor barricaded himself inside Ebby's for three hours, and at one point spray painted the windows black so officers could not see inside. Officers had to force themselves into the building, lobbing four rounds of gas inside the store, Sheriff J.D. Diggs said July 25.

After being advised of his Miranda Rights, Taylor admitted shooting St. Clair with his handgun inside the body shop, and also admitted to waking up Tuesday morning, grabbing two of his handguns and a shotgun, and intending to go to Ebby's to shoot St. Clair, according to the complaint.

On Apr. 10, 2001, Taylor pleaded guilty to assault and battery in Norfolk Circuit Court, according to online court records, and was given a 12-month suspended sentence and fined $700, which included court costs. Taylor also received three years of unsupervised probation, online court records state.

LaRoue can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342, by email at or on Twitter @jlaroue.

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