Virginia State Police arrested John M. Mason, 27, around 8 p.m. on Sunday, several hours after 20-year-old Amanda K. Bush of Stuarts Draft was found in the street in the 2700 block of Knollwood Drive in Staunton with a gunshot wound, according to Staunton police. Bush died at the scene.
Virginia State Police said Mason was apprehended in Carroll County about 8 p.m. after wrecking a rental car just off Exit 1 near Interstate 77, close to the North Carolina border. A gun was recovered.
“When the trooper arrived at the scene, (Mason) was intoxicated,” said 1st Sgt. Mike Musser, stationed in Galax.
Musser said Mason had to be wrestled to the ground by the trooper after the suspect refused orders to keep his hands in sight and continuously “fiddled” with his clothing.
“He found a weapon in the waistband of his clothing,” Musser said.
The trooper suffered a slight injury to his hand during the arrest.
Mason also faces charges of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in connection with the shooting death of Bush.
Mason has several past felony convictions, including a two-year prison stint on carnal knowledge charges after he was found guilty in 2002 and 2003 in both Augusta County and Staunton for having sex with a 13-year-old girl he met at a local gas station. Other convictions, all charges from 2002, include felony eluding of a police officer, maiming as a result of driving while intoxicated and two charges of hit-and-run, Augusta County court records show.
Mason is a registered sex offender with the Virginia State Police.
On Monday, Kimberly Bell, 20, of Waynesboro, a friend of Bush’s, said she first read of the slaying in the newspaper. “I couldn’t believe it,” she said.
Bell said she and Bush often had sleepovers as kids, and said they attended Stuarts Draft Middle School and Stuarts Draft High School together before Bell left the high school.
“She was a sweet, kind person. That’s why I couldn’t believe somebody would even think about shooting her,” Bell said.
“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”