The man shot and killed Monday in a parking lot at the Vaughan Outlets has been identified as Dennis L. Bray, 51, of Springfield, Virginia. He died of a gunshot wound to the chest, Fairfax County police said.
The killing comes just weeks after Bray was released from prison. On May 1, Bray had a conviction for aggravated malicious wounding, robbery and firearms possession in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections. He was released on May 4.
His third arrest on charges of robbery and assault on a police officer occurred while he was still incarcerated. In April 2008, he was sentenced to seven years in prison. For the robbery charge, Bray was given a two-year suspended sentence for armed robbery and another year suspended for assault, the Department of Corrections said.
In January 2014, Bray was sentenced to another 10 years in prison for making death threats on an estranged girlfriend. In that case, he was given a 12-year suspended sentence and ordered to serve an additional three years in prison, with two years on probation.
His sentence was expunged by the commonwealth on May 4, five days before his death.
What sets this shooting in Fairfax County apart from many gun deaths in the United States is the type of weapon used to kill Bray. A handgun, not a rifle, was used. The killer was a biker, not a home invasion victim.
Still, as police continue to investigate this homicide, officials in the local gun control group D.C. Against Gun Violence say they are keeping a watchful eye on Virginia state lawmakers.
WFPL News reported that the top two state leaders in the state senate – Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City County, and Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg – are sitting on a measure introduced by another lawmaker this session to give people more rights to own guns in Virginia.
The bill would legalize personal possession of a handgun in or near one’s home, on one’s person or in a vehicle. Current Virginia law allows people to carry guns in certain public places, such as churches and schools.
Orshain is also a co-sponsor of a bill that would make it easier for Virginia residents to obtain permits to carry a concealed handgun.
The bill makes no mention of community concerns about criminality in gun violence, according to D.C. Against Gun Violence, which is one of the sponsors of the bill. Instead, it makes it more difficult for law enforcement agencies to deny permits to those who pose a potential threat, the organization said.
More than 300 people were killed in gun violence in Maryland in 2017, police there told The Baltimore Sun. Officials there say they are closely watching what Fairfax County police are doing in their investigation of the death of Bray.
Speaking to reporters after the Washington Post reported that the suspect in the case was a member of the Outlaws motorcycle gang, Fairfax County police said they were working with the FBI and Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“Even though this man was not a member of the Outlaws, he is now, and we have cooperated with law enforcement,” Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. said.
According to Roessler, the shooter, identified as Michael “Billy” Evans, has ties to Outlaws chapters in South Carolina and Florida. In a press conference Tuesday morning, Roessler said that two other people were taken into custody and that police are searching for Evans. Roessler did not elaborate on the arrests or on how Evans was connected to Outlaws chapters in South Carolina and Florida.