West Virginia Man Kills New Black Neighbor

Rodney Bruce Black fatally shot his new neighbor and the man’s brother, apparently thinking that they were breaking into his house, when they were not even on his property. 

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Rodney Bruce Black

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A man from Barboursville, W.Va., fatally shot his new neighbor and the neighbor’s brother without warning as the two men were inspecting their property, New York's Daily News reports.

Rodney Bruce Black, 62, told authorities that he thought his victims were breaking into a building he owned. However, although the building is on land that once belonged to Black’s family, that was not the case anymore.

One of the victims, Garrick Hopkins, 60, and his wife had just purchased the property next door to Black and were planning to build a house within the next few weeks, Sheriff Tom McComas told the Daily News on Monday. Hopkins invited his brother, Carl, who was 61, to inspect the property with him Saturday afternoon.

Black saw the two men looking into a shed and, allegedly without warning or calling the police, took his rifle and fired at the men. They died at the site. Both men leave behind their wives and children.

"He shot first and then called 911," McComas said. According to the sheriff, the shed didn't have anything valuable in it. Police are still investigating why Black, who was on neither drugs nor alcohol, would shoot the unarmed men, whom he reportedly had never come into contact with before.

The police remain stumped about why Black acted in such a extreme way over something that had no value to him. "He said they were breaking into his house, but it wasn't his property," McComas said.

"It's just a terrible, terrible tragedy," he continued. "We're still trying to figure all of this out ... Hopefully we'll find out his reasoning as the investigation continues."

Black is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. He is currently being held at a county jail without bond and is expected to appear in court on Feb. 4.

Police confiscated a "large amount" of weapons and ammo from Black's home, the Daily News notes.

Although Black is white and his victims were black, McComas told the Daily News that there was no reason to believe that race influenced Black's deadly decision.

Read more at the Daily News.

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