But the two brothers were not on his property. And they were not breaking into a shed on his property. They were on the adjacent land one of the deceased had just purchased.
The shootings took place Saturday at around 2:30 p.m. Garrick Hopkins, 60, and his wife, Denise, had just purchased land next to property owned by Rodney Bruce Black, 62, in Barboursville, West Virginia. Black had owned the property and the shed located on the adjacent land but court records revealed the property had been sold 10 days before.
Hopkins had invited his brother, Carl Hopkins Jr., 61, to his newly-acquired land on Saturday to check it out. While the two brothers were looking into the shed on the land, Black allegedly shot both of them. The brothers were pronounced dead at the scene.
Black was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Cabell County Sheriff, Tom McComas, said, "He shot first and then called 911. He said they were breaking into his house but it wasn't his property." He did not warn them prior to shooting, nor did he attempt to help them after the shots were fired. Although autopsies on the two men have not been completed, it is believed they may have bled to death.
West Virginia Regional Jail
Rodney Bruce Black, 62, faces two counts of first-degree murder for the shooting deaths of two brothers he thought were breaking into his property
According to the criminal complaint, Black said he saw two men "shaking the door on his tool shed in his back yard." He then grabbed his rifle and fired at both men from his window.
The adjoining land was sold on Jan. 15. Judy Ranson, Black's sister, says she is in shock. According to Ranson, who administered her mother's estate that owned the land, Black knew the adjoining property was not his and in fact was angry at his sister for selling the land.
Police indicate Black was not high or drunk at the time of the shootings; he just seemed confused about ownership of the shed and the adjoining land.
After Black was arrested, authorities obtained a search warrant to search his home. They found dozens of guns as well as ammunition.
Drew Beane, a neighbour, said he tried to get to know all his neighbours but after living in his home for two years, he did not know Black. Beane did know that someone lived in the house. Describing Black, Beane said, "This is the guy that we just never saw, didn't know existed."
Black is being held without bond at the West Virginia Regional Jail and is due in court on Feb. 4. Although Black is white and the Hopkins brothers were black, the sheriff's office does not believe race was a factor in the shootings.