Sheriff: Suspect Was Digging Wife's Grave
Man Was Using Backhoe To Dig Large Hole, Sheriff Says
MOUNT AIRY, N.C. -- A man who shot and bound his wife was using a backhoe tractor to presumably dig her grave, Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson said Monday.
Surry County deputies captured Christopher Scott Hiatt, 26, who was hiding in a wooded area off Dusty Lane near Greentown Road Monday morning, Atkinson said.
Atkinson said he had barricaded himself along a tree line less than a mile from the North Carolina/Virginia state line and was spotted with the help of a police helicopter that was scouring the area from above.
Atkinson said the incident started Sunday at about 10:40 p.m. when deputies responded to a breaking and entering call at the Hiatt Asphalt Company on Dusty Lane and found Hiatt's wife, Deonna Hiatt, 19, inside a Chevrolet Silverado truck, suffering from a gunshot wound to her head.
"(The deputies) looked in a vehicle that the suspect had left and found a female victim shot in the head. She was unresponsive," Atkinson said. Her feet had been bound by a leather jacket, but she was still alive, he said.
Christopher Hiatt in an old mugshot
Atkinson said Hiatt was taken to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center where she died late Monday morning.
Atkinson said that deputies saw Hiatt using a backhoe tractor to dig a hole, presumably to use as a grave for his wife. When Hiatt saw the deputies he ran away into the nearby woods. Murder charges are now pending against him.
Atkinson said deputies spotted Christopher Hiatt Monday morning hiding in the woods. Deputies fired at him, injuring him, before taking him into custody. Deputies said had Hiatt fired at them first. EMS treated him at the scene, then airlifted him to WFUBMC, where he was listed in critical but stable condition. Surry EMS Director John Shelton said he had been shot at least twice.
"It was kind of strange to see someone with a T-shirt on as cold as it was," said a neighbor who said he saw Hiatt Sunday evening.
Deputies didn't say what prompted the shooting, but did say the two had a history of domestic violence.
No other injuries were reported.
"All of the officers are okay. There are two deputies that were involved in the shooting along with a North Carolina state trooper," Atkinson said. "They are now part of the officer-involved shooting investigation that's going on. They seem to be okay. Everybody is just glad that nobody was hurt any worse than they were."
Atkinson said the SBI had been called in to assist in the investigation, as is the general procedure when law enforcement officers are involved in a shooting.