A U.S. military officer was fatally shot at a convenience store in Virginia on Tuesday in what police believe might be a random act of violence.
Robert Gooch, 34, was with his 13-year-old daughter at a Wawa store in Chesterfield County around 7 p.m. to buy popcorn before watching a movie, the Richmond-Times Dispatch reported.
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The victim’s father, Robert Gooch III, told the news outlet that his son was heading toward his car after leaving the store, roughly 15 miles southwest of Richmond, when the incident occurred. He said Gooch pushed his daughter out of the way and told her to “get down” and to call her grandfather.
“He’s an Army officer and he understands how to give orders and get things done,” the father said. “He’s not somebody who would ever panic. He was calm and in charge.”
The father-of-three was reportedly shot multiple times before he was transported to the hospital, where he died.
Chesterfield County Police wrote in a Facebook post that the suspect — identified as George Buschmann, 34 — didn’t know Gooch, and a motive for the shooting remains unclear.
The two reportedly had “no verbal back and forth at all,” before Buschmann allegedly shot Gooch.
Buschmann fled the scene and was later spotted by police around 1 a.m. on Wednesday for speeding. He allegedly did not stop driving but was later apprehended when police deployed spike strips on the ground.
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The alleged gunman was taken into custody and has been charged with first-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, grand larceny of a motor vehicle, felony eluding, possession of a firearm after being involuntarily committed, and transporting a firearm while being subject to a protective order.
Gooch leaves behind a family, including a wife and three children. He served multiple tours in Afghanistan and was an officer in the Army Reserve, according to WTVR.
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A neighbor, Faizan Habib, told the news station that Gooch “was the first one to say ‘Hey, let me help you out. What do you need?’ Robert was a fantastic guy. Very helpful, very loving to his kids.”
A GoFundMe page set up for the family, “who are now left to pick up the pieces,” raised more than $16,000 of its $20,000 goal as of Thursday night.