A Culpeper man shot and killed two people Monday night outside a bar in West Virginia before turning the gun on himself, according to authorities.
The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday identified 45-year-old Christopher Marchitelli as the shooter in the violent, apparently domestic incident that occurred around 10:30 p.m. on July 8 in an outdoor smoking area behind The Ladder House Bar & Grill in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
The victims were identified as Cierra Hammons, 29, of Inwood, West Virginia and Adam Carter, 43, of Winchester. Hammons was a bartender at the Ladder House, where she had worked since December, according to police. She and Marchitelli knew each other for a couple of years, police said.
According to Berkeley County Sheriff Curtis Keller, the alleged shooter “went to the bar to talk to the bartender.” He said Marchitelli and Hammons were in an “intimate relationship,” during a press conference Tuesday at the sheriff’s office broadcast live by TV10 WRNR.
Added Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office Lt. B.F. Hall, “It looks like he may have went there to confront her about something.”
Marchitelli apparently drove an hour and half from his home in Culpeper Monday night to the West Virginia establishment, police said.
The sheriff said the Culpeper man talked the bartender into going outside, but Hammons “requested that another person from inside the bar that she was familiar with go with her.” That other person was Carter, a bar patron, who Hammons also knew, police said.
“They went outside and they confronted the shooter and he shot both of them, then shot his self,” Keller said at the news conference.
Both victims were shot in the head at close range before the alleged shooter committed suicide by shooting himself in the head, authorities said. Two handguns reportedly belonging to Marchitelli were recovered from the scene. Police said they did not believe Carter knew Marchitelli.
The sheriff’s investigator said they were currently analyzing the cell phones of the alleged shooter and of Hammons to get some idea of the conversation leading up to the fatal incident. Authorities said there were a lot of text messages sent between the two prior to the shooting, and that they had reason to believe there may have been prior domestic incidents between them.
“It was a personal thing between the bartender and the shooter,” the sheriff said.
Keller added the incident had nothing to do the character of the bar, where Hammons had worked for seven months. The Ladder House Bar & Grill posted on its Facebook page Tuesday about the deadly shooting saying the staff were heartbroken. The business said it would donate 100 percent of the day’s profits in support of the bartender’s two children.
“We are determined to tell this horrible story to shine a light on the tragic effects of domestic violence, because it touches us all in unexpected ways,” the post stated.
The bodies of the deceased were transported to the medical examiner’s office in Charleston, West Virginia for autopsies. Anyone with information in the case is urged to call the sheriff’s office at 304/267-7000.