Anaika Miller & Sam Wall
Christiansburg Town Manager Steve Biggs, 53, is being treated for life-threatening injuries after he was flown to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital early Tuesday morning for a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to town officials.
An emergency protective order was issued against Biggs last month after a 23-year-old female neighbor alleged Biggs was harassing her.
According to a town press release, law enforcement officers responded shortly after 12:07 a.m. Tuesday to a 911 call regarding a possible suicidal person at 10 Montague St. in Christiansburg. Town spokesperson Melissa Powell said the call was made by a third-party.
Officers from the Christiansburg Police Department and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department attempted to contact Biggs inside his apartment for nearly four hours before hearing a gunshot at approximately 3:54 a.m. Law enforcement found Biggs with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head upon entering the residence.
Biggs received first aid from Christiansburg Rescue Squad members shortly after law enforcement officers entered the apartment. Powell wrote in the statement that Virginia State Police will be investigating the incident.
State police also investigated the harassment claims made against Biggs. In a emergency protective order filed March 8, the 23-year-old female alleged Biggs has “always been ‘obsessive’” toward her, but that his behavior had become more concerning in the past month.
The neighbor claimed Biggs had changed her locks, and that she believed he had kept a copy of the new keys for himself. She also alleged he texted her at all hours, including between 2-4 a.m.
“He for the past month would go back and forth between texting me saying he ‘loved’ me and trying to give me gifts, to texting me things like ‘the more jealous you are of a person the less you care about their suffering,’ and that I’m a piece of s—, just using him, no one will love me, ect. [sic],” the woman wrote in the criminal complaint.
The woman said she told Biggs to stop texting her but that he continued.
Biggs filed a motion to dissolve the protective order on March 10, but the motion was denied by a judge on March 13.
When explaining why he wanted the motion dissolved, Biggs wrote that “statements in the filing are false and misleading.”
Biggs wrote that the woman had no reason to believe he had a key to her apartment.
“[The] filing was made to discredit and undermine my standing professionally and in the community,” Biggs wrote.
The emergency protective order prohibited Biggs from being in the woman’s presence until March 13, which is when the order legally expired.
A preliminary protective order, which would have lasted 15 days or until a full hearing, was denied by a judge on March 13.
Powell said town council met in closed session on March 14 to discuss the matter. At the time, the Virginia State Police investigation was ongoing. No action was taken by the council.
The Montgomery County commonwealth’s attorney received a summary of the investigation from a special agent with the Virginia State Police. In an email reply from April 6, Chief Deputy Commonwealth Attorney Patrick Jensen said it was his and Commonwealth Attorney Mary Pettitt’s opinion that “there is no probable cause to charge Mr. Biggs with stalking or any other criminal offense.”
Biggs began his position with the Town on July 1, 2016 and was chosen after a national search with over 30 applicants.
He came from Clayton, North Carolina where he served as town manager for almost two decades, and was credited with leading the North Carolina community through a period of unprecedented growth. His wife and children had not moved to Christiansburg with him.
Biggs said in a recent interview with the News Messenger that he looked forward to his future in Christiansburg, which is in the midst of a new budget cycle. He was expected to unveil the first draft in the next few weeks.
Christiansburg Mayor Michael Barber released a statement Tuesday afternoon.
“Christiansburg Town Council, staff and I are deeply saddened by this morning’s events and are keeping Steve and his family in our thoughts and prayers,” Barber wrote. “Since he’s come on board in July, Steve has energized the Town of Christiansburg, inspiring many of the stakeholders in our amazing community to recognize the great potential that already existed prior to his arrival—and still does.”
Barber wrote that Assistant Town Manager Randy Wingfield is acting as interim town manager.