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Shooting victim wanted to open restaurant, brother says

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A man who was fatally shot during an alleged robbery at his West Side apartment on Monday wanted to open a restaurant and kept a locked safe in his home filled with cash, his brother said.

One of two men believed to be involved in the deadly shooting was arrested late Monday night. Police believe the other may still be in the area.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court, police responded to a shooting at 403 Piccadilly St. just after 1:40 p.m. and found Roy Chambliss, 40, dead of apparent gunshot wounds to the chest, and Natalie Sprouse, 20, his roommate, wounded with a gunshot to the arm.

According to the criminal complaint, Sprouse told police that Daniel Okieth Little and Jarod Edward Washington, both 29, of Charleston, came to the house Sunday night to try to sell two guns, but were told Chambliss and Sprouse didn't have any money. The men came back about 1 p.m. Monday to try to sell the guns again.

After again being told they weren't buying the guns, Washington went into the bathroom, the complaint says. When he came back, he allegedly had a gun pointed at Sprouse. Little then pulled another gun and ordered Sprouse, Chambliss and another man, John Endicott, into the bedroom and ordered Sprouse to open the safe, according to the criminal complaint.

Sprouse told police a fight ensued, and Little allegedly shot Chambliss, the criminal complaint says. Washington then allegedly opened fire, hitting Sprouse in the arm and also shooting at Chambliss.

The suspects fled in Sprouse's white Ford Expedition.

At about 10 p.m. Monday, West Virginia State Police troopers went to the Red Roof Inn near Winfield after receiving a tip that Little might be at the hotel. Troopers arrested Little without incident in Room 213 and he was charged with first-degree murder and robbery.

No weapon was recovered, said Trooper Natalie Moncayo of the State Police detachment in Winfield.

Police are still looking for Washington and have filed warrants for first-degree murder and robbery against him. Police are not sure what vehicle Washington is driving, but he's believed to still be nearby, Charleston Police Lt. Steve Cooper said Tuesday.

Little was being held without bail in Western Regional Jail Tuesday evening awaiting transfer to South Central Regional Jail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 19.

Dennile Chambliss said Roy Chambliss, his older brother, had moved to Charleston from Jacksonville, Fla., less than a year ago. He wanted to find a construction job and began pouring concrete for home foundations, he said.

However, his real dream was to open and manage a West Side restaurant.

"He was trying to come up with start-up capital and that's probably what was in that safe," Dennile Chambliss said.

Chambliss said he wasn't sure how much money is in the safe, but knew it held a diamond tennis bracelet that his brother wanted to give their mother.

The suspects fatally shot Chambliss without gaining access to the combination. They were probably familiar with him for him to have let them into his apartment, he said.

"He had to know them to be caught off guard like that," Dennile Chambliss said. "It had to be someone who had been there before and knew he kept a safe in the house."

Roy Chambliss' death shocked their parents and the rest of their family, he said. They are all in mourning.

"It's hard. Very hard," Dennile Chambliss said. "We just can't foresee something like this happening to our brother."

His brother had a girlfriend from Columbus, Ohio, who would visit him on the weekends. She's having a difficult time with his death, he said.

Roy Chambliss enjoyed sports, being outdoors and loved his two pit bulls.

"He was fun-loving, everybody liked him," Dennile Chambliss said. "He was my role model growing up and taught me everything I know about sports. He was my best friend."

Dennile Chambliss plans to attend the trials for his brother's alleged killers.

"I want to see the guy that shot my brother," he said. "I want to ask him, 'why?' "

Staff writer Rusty Marks contributed to this report. Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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