Authorities in Botetourt County this morning discovered the body of a well-known Democratic operative and U.S. Senate aide along U.S. 220 north of Fincastle, dead from an apparent gunshot wound.
The body of Frederick W. Hutchins Jr., 26, of Roanoke was found shortly after 7 a.m. along southbound U.S. 220 by a Botetourt County deputy who had stopped to check on a vehicle parked on the highway’s shoulder, according to the sheriff’s office.
Hutchins was an aide to U.S. Senator Jim Webb, D-Va., and previously worked for Del. Onzlee Ware, D-Roanoke.
Hutchins had been shot in the head, and a gun was found beneath his body, Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle said.
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Here’s the official release from the sheriff, with a statement from Sen. Webb below that.
FROM: Botetourt County Sheriff’s Department
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
Botetourt County Officers Investigating
Roadside Gunshot Death
Botetourt County Sheriff Ronnie N. Sprinkle has reported that his officers are investigating the gunshot death of a 26-year-old Roanoke area male whose body was found shortly after seven o’clock Tuesday morning by a deputy sheriff who stopped to check on a vehicle parked on the shoulder of the southbound lanes of US 220 north of Fincastle.
Sheriff Sprinkle identified the man as Frederick Wayne Hutchins, Jr., who resided at 324 Salem Avenue in Roanoke.
The body, with a single gunshot wound to the head, was found outside the vehicle, on a small embankment beside the road, and a gun was found beneath the body, Sprinkle said, adding that the official cause of death would be determined by the Office of the Medical Examiner for Southwest Virginia.
Sheriff Sprinkle said that the death occurred between 4:30 a.m., when an officer passed the scene and no vehicle was present, and 7:08 a.m., when another officer stopped to check on the parked vehicle.
From Sen. Jim Webb:
Statement of Senator Jim Webb on the Death of Fred Hutchins
Washington, DC — Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) today issued the following statement:
“I am terribly saddened by the tragic and sudden death of Fred Hutchins, who diligently managed our Roanoke Senate office. Freddie was one of the most honorable and friendly individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing. He was a mainstay in the Roanoke community and a friend to all who knew him. My condolences go out to his mother, Karen, and the rest of his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.”