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Updated: Thursday, 07 Oct 2010, 10:55 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 05 Oct 2010, 3:41 PM EDT
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) - Elizabeth City Police held a news conference Thursday afternoon to discuss its investigation into the deadly shooting. Christopher David Amyx, 23, was arrested and charged with the first degree murder of Jonathan Schipper, according to police. Schipper was found shot inside a dorm room on the Mid-Atlantic Christian University campus on Sunday. The Medical Examiner said Schipper was shot in the head with a semi-automatic handgun.
Amyx voluntarily surrendered to police authorities and is currently in custody, with no bond, according to a release from the Elizabeth City Police Department.
"Once we were able to determine some of the things we were being told were not factual - that's when we were able to evaluate our evidence and make an arrest," said Elizabeth City Police Chief Charles Crudup.
"We had to back up our statements with evidence, and at this point, that's still being analyzed," said Detective Jerry Boyce with Elizabeth City Police.
One student said Schipper and Amyx lived in the same dorm. "All I know is that one semester, they were roommates for two weeks, but never saw them together," said Tiffany Moore, a student at MACU.
"Other than just general knowledge of each other they really weren't friends. They didn't hang out in the same circles. No one I know I've talked to knows of any conflict between the two, other then - they just weren't friends." said MACU student Stephanie Gray.
According to court documents, Amyx said he shot the student in self defense. Amyx was a student at the university and part-time police officer.
According to Elizabeth City Police, Amyx was located in a hallway near the victim with an unloaded gun on Sunday. "He [Amyx] was there at the scene. The victim was found in his room. The weapon that was used was found near him. And he does acknowledge it was his weapon," said Detective Jerry Boyce with the Elizabeth City Police Department.
Police said Amyx was emotional when they found him. "He was very upset, he appeared to be, he was quiet - what anybody would be who had been involved in a shooting such as that - no matter if you're a police officer or civilian. You know, he was extremely upset," said Boyce.
An investigation revealed that Amyx is an auxiliary police officer with the Town of Pinetops, North Carolina, which is about a two hour drive southwest of Elizabeth City. "They [Auxiliary police officers] back up full time officers on the weekend," said Amyx's supervisor, Captain J.A. Cappalletti of the Pinetops Police Department.
"Each of our officers is issued a semi automatic glock 45 caliber handgun as their service weapon," said Cappalletti. Amyx has been with the police department since May. The Pinetops Police Department said Amyx is on administrative leave.
Store owner Patricia Web of Webb's Antiques, works across from the Pinetops Police Department. "We have a lot of good police officers," said Webb. When asked if she knew Amyx, Webb said, "The only thing I know is that this fella's a person of interest. I don't know him personally. I noticed him when he was going in and out."
With regards to Schipper's family, Webb said "I'm sure the family is really having a hard time. It's hard for a mother to lose a child - anybody to lose a child in any situation."
An affidavit for search warrant revealed several items were seized from Amyx's dorm room, including several guns, bullets, loaded handgun magazines a knife and two laptop computers. Police also searched a 2005 Chevy Impala and took DNA samples from Amyx's mouth. The affidavit narrative stated, "Mr Amyx told another student at the college he shot the victim Jonathan Schipper and to call 911. Detective Boyce advised that Mr. Amyx had been receiving numerous threats from unidentified sources prior to the deceased being found in his room. The victim was found deceased in Mr. Amyx' room with an apparent gunshot wound to the head."
The medical examiner has ruled Schipper's death a homicide, but police only said they are developing their case.
Numerous students told WAVY.com they were not surprised that the accused student had a gun on campus. "He was a police officer, he had a gun, it was part of his job so I am not surprised he had a gun on campus," said student Elizabeth Vahey.
Classes were cancelled at the university Monday but resumed Tuesday. Grief counselors were on hand to help any students or faculty deal with the shooting.
The university released a new statement about the shooting Thursday afternoon:
The university is aware of the actions of the Elizabeth City Police Department and the District Attorney's office, taken yesterday, Oct. 6. The university continues to mourn and is saddened by this news. We continue to encourage everyone to pray, especially for the families involved.
This continues to be an on-going investigation, and Mid-Atlantic continues to cooperate fully with the Elizabeth City Police Department. Because this is an on-going criminal investigation, we are unable
to comment about the details of the incident. Please contact the Elizabeth City Police Department for details.
We continue to have a coordinated effort to serve the needs of students, faculty, and staff. Counselors and local ministers have maintained a constant presence on campus, and we are deeply appreciative of their service to our campus.
We remain overwhelmed by the expressions of love and concern that continue to pour onto campus. The prayers, letters, calls, and gestures of friendship have been of great comfort.
Requests for information should be directed to the Office of the President.
We invite everyone to a memorial service tonight, Oct. 7, at 7:30 in the Blanton Center, 718 N. Poindexter St., on the university campus. The service is for the community, churches, Mid-Atlantic students, and the entire Mid-Atlantic family. It is a call to prayer for the families most deeply affected by the tragedy of Oct. 3, for the Mid-Atlantic family, and for peace rather than violence.
Friday classes at the university have been canceled.
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