Search warrant: Thornburg shooting victims were asked about Hispanic heritage before they were shot

by | Mar 1, 2024 | ALLFFP, Police and Fire, Spotsylvania, Uncategorized

Two Hispanic males from Prince William County remain in critical condition Friday following a shooting Wednesday night in the Thornburg area of Spotsylvania County that was an apparent hate crime, Spotsylvania Sheriff Maj. Troy Skebo said. 

Douglas Wayne Cornett, a 57-year-old white man from Caroline County, was arrested by the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office and Spotsylvania detectives and charged with two counts of malicious wounding and additional firearm violations. 

The investigation is ongoing and further charges may be forthcoming. Cornett was transported to the Rappahannock Regional Jail with no bond. 

The shooting occurred in the Sheetz convenience store parking lot in the 5000 block of Mudd Tavern Road. 

Douglas Cornett

Douglas Cornett

One of the victims was shot once in the abdomen and the other was shot twice in the abdominal area and once in the arm.  

The men advised that they were followed by a man in a Honda SUV. They said the driver asked them questions such as “How long they have been in the country?” before pulling out a weapon and shooting them. No cartridge cases were on the ground. 

Spotsylvania detectives reviewed Sheetz camera footage, which shows the Honda following the victims’ box truck into the parking lot. The Honda then pulls around and parks by the entrance and waits for a few minutes before pulling back up to the passenger side of the box truck again.

That’s when, according to the search warrant, it appears words were exchanged. The driver of the Honda pulled forward and waited again for a while before heading to the fuel pumps on the driver’s side of the victims’ box truck. 

More words were exchanged, and the victims and a Sheetz employee were seen running as shots were fired. The victims appear on camera to be limping as they make their way to the grassy area of the median.  

Through reviewing footage, police noted that the driver was a white man with a white beard and light-colored long hair. He was wearing a cowboy hat and a dark-colored shirt. Deputies reviewed the license plate and narrowed it down to a few possibilities before determining that the vehicle belonged to Cornett. 

A search warrant shows that authorities arrived at Cornett’s Ruther Glen home early Thursday morning and discovered the Honda SUV in his driveway. 

They confiscated a magazine, two cartridges, a jean jacket, Honda Pilot keys, two cellphones, three Confederate flags and a Sig P320 handgun with one magazine and seven rounds. 

Based on Cornett’s alleged comments regarding the ethnicity of the victims, authorities feared he may leave home again and commit further acts of violence against minorities. 

“Hate crimes are a stain on our society and have no place in a civilized world,” Spotsylvania Sheriff Roger Harris said in a news release. “As a society, we must stand united in denouncing and combating hate crimes in all forms.” 

Spotsylvania deputies responded to the scene of the shooting at 9:27 p.m. Two detectives who were in the area arrived and found the men, ages 29 and 45, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Both detectives administered first aid until medical personnel arrived.  

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