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Man Fatally Shot In Restaurant, But Diners Said They Heard Nothing

February 11, 1988

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A man was shot in the head in a crowded restaurant and lay dying in a hallway, and all 42 diners questioned told authorities they did not see or hear anything, police said Wednesday.

Jeffrey Spragley, 34, died Tuesday at Medical College of Virginia Hospitals, about 45 minutes after the shooting, hospital spokeswoman Stephanie Halloran said Wednesday.

Police Capt. J.R. Otto said an anonymous caller immediately reported the shooting at Otto’s Inn. The captain has no connection to the restaurant.

Lt. Robert Childress said officers arrived three minutes after the call and took the names of 42 people inside. Some people had left, he said.

″Forty-two names and nobody heard anything, nobody saw anything,″ Childress said. ″It’s a little frustrating.″

Spragley was shot in a small hallway between the restrooms, Childress said. Spragley lay on the floor, vomiting blood, about a foot and a half from diners, Childress said. ″His feet would have been closer than that,″ he said.

″They squawk about the murder rate,″ Childress said, ″but no one knows anything.″

Richmond had the fifth-highest murder rate per capita for the first six months of 1987, according to the FBI. For every 100,000 residents, 39.12 were murdered, the FBI said.

There have been nine homicides in Richmond this year, compared with 13 by this point last year, according to police. Eighty-three people were murdered in Richmond in 1987.

It was not clear whether Spragley had been eating at the restaurant, Otto said. The police captain would not comment on possible suspects or a motive, and would not give any more information on the victim.

″I’m outraged that none of the witnesses would come forth and cooperate with the police,″ said City Councilor Henry L. Marsh III. ″Part of it is fear. The other part of it is just ignorance.″

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