Shortly before 9 a.m. Tuesday, police say Michael Taylor walked into a 2nd Street auto shop and started shooting.
Taylor, a 40-year-old Hampton resident, came to Ebby’s Auto Painting and Collision near Merrimac Trail to settle a dispute with a man who worked there, said York-Poquoson Sheriff J.D. Diggs. Calls came in to dispatch at 8:57 a.m., but Taylor wasn’t arrested until three hours later.
As many as nine people were in the auto shop when the shots started, Diggs said.
One man, an Ebby’s employee, was hit by several bullets, Diggs said.
Other employees carried the injured man to a nearby parking lot, and he was taken to a local hospital. He was in stable condition as of Tuesday night, according to the sheriff’s office.
“(Taylor) targeted the man who was shot,” Captain Dennis Ivey said.
Neither Ivey nor Diggs would say how the men knew each other. Diggs said Taylor was not a disgruntled employee.
Most of the people inside the shop escaped when the shots started, but one person didn’t leave right away. Diggs said Taylor quickly let the hostage go; he didn’t use the person as a bargaining tool.
For the next three hours, Taylor locked himself inside the auto shop, armed with a handgun. At one point he began spray painting the windows black so officers couldn’t see in, Diggs said.
Officers closed about a half-mile stretch of 2nd Street — from Shorty’s Diner to Parkway Drive — Tuesday while Taylor was inside the shop, refusing to come out.
“When people are barricaded there’s always some give and take, and we’ve tried to respond to his requests as we can,” Diggs said at about 11:30 a.m., an hour before officers arrested him.
The man was requesting to talk to family members, Diggs said later. He wouldn’t say which family members or if they live locally, but police did grant Taylor’s request, Diggs said.
York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office was backed up by local and federal agencies including the FBI and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Diggs said communication with Taylor was intermittent and some progress was made. But Taylor broke contact with officers, and Diggs said spray painting the windows black was a sign.
“For the last three, four hours we have been in contact with him trying to negotiate his surrender,” Diggs said at 1 p.m., After Taylor’s arrest. “Our efforts were unsuccessful and due to some of his actions in this deteriorating circumstance, we decided to deploy gas in an effort for him to surrender.”
The gas was meant to “distract and disorient,” Ivey said.
The York County Emergency Response Team lobbed four rounds of the gas inside. A loud boom was heard from blocks away as officers forced their way into the building. Officers hit Taylor with a Taser, but didn’t fire any shots, Diggs said.
“When it’s determined that he’s not going to come out, we have to consider what he might do to himself and the public,” Ivey said. “Because bullets fly outside of buildings.”
Officers warned people to stay away from 2nd Street. Two schools — Magruder Elementary School and Queens Lake Middle School — were locked down and neighboring businesses evacuated.
Chris Smith, co-owner of the Virginia Beer Company, which sits next door to Ebby’s, said he didn’t hear any gun shots.
“We just saw a ton of police cars on the street and a ton of police officers everywhere,” Smith said.
After officers arrested Taylor, they took him to Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail.
He’s charged with attempted first-degree murder, shooting into an occupied building and using a firearm to commit a felony. He’s held without bond.
Diggs said this is the best possible outcome officers could hope for.
“What a relief it is to know no one else was injured,” Diggs said. “Other people could have died, one of my people could have died, the suspect could have died, so it is a wonderful relief when this turns out as well as it could.”
LaRoue can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342.