AMHERST — An Amherst man was arrested Wednesday in connection with a shooting at an Amherst County home that left a 92-year-old woman dead and her daughter injured.
Justin Jay Sales, 18, of Earley Farm Road, was taken into custody early Wednesday while at a residence on Littleton Lane in Madison Heights, Amherst County Sheriff E.W. Viar announced.
Sales is charged with first-degree murder, malicious wounding and two counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony.
Amherst sheriff’s deputies responded to a home on Bobwhite Road in Amherst at about 11:40 p.m. June 25 on a report that a woman had been shot.
When they arrived, they found Doris T. Puleio, 92, had been shot dead, the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office has said. Deputies also located Puleio’s daughter, 74-year-old Trudy Ann Goetz, who had sustained two gunshot wounds and was taken to Lynchburg General Hospital, where she was treated for her injuries.
Viar said Sales is not related to the two women, but declined to comment on a motive, citing the ongoing investigation. He said Earley Farm Road in Amherst is located near Bobwhite Road.
Viar described the shooting as a “senseless and heinous” act. He thanked the many law enforcement officers from a variety of agencies and localities who worked the past few weeks on the case.
“This has been a hard investigation for our department,” Viar said. “We’re very glad to bring this case to a charge.”
He said Goetz is out of the hospital, recovering and doing fine. During the past two weeks Amherst investigators — along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Virginia State Police and the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office — worked tirelessly on the arrest, according to Viar.
He said Sales was under surveillance shortly before his arrest and authorities had a long night working on taking him into custody. Viar thanked the Lynchburg Police Department for helping set up a perimeter at the Madison Heights home early Wednesday while Sales was taken into custody without incident.
Amherst County Commonwealth’s Attorney Lyle Carver, who was on hand for the announcement of Sales’ arrest, said the cooperation among law enforcement agencies in the case was among the best he’s seen in 11 years as a prosecutor in Amherst.
The homicide was the first in Amherst County since October 2016.
“I hope it stays that way,” Viar said.
He added of the shooting involving two elderly women: “We don’t have these kinds of things in Amherst.”
Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.