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Husband charged with murder after woman killed in Mount Vernon home shooting

Fairfax County police car (file photo)

A 59-year-old woman died Sunday (Sept. 4) after she and her husband were found shot at a townhouse in the Mount Vernon area that morning.

The Fairfax County Police Department believes Daphne Saunders-Johnson was shot by her husband, James Johnson, who then shot himself in a “domestic-related incident.”

Johnson has been charged with second degree murder and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, the FCPD announced yesterday (Monday).

According to the police department, officers responded to the 7900 block of Central Park Circle at approximately 3:19 a.m. after getting a report of a shooting.

“Shortly after arriving, officers heard a gunshot and entered the residence to find Daphne Saunders-Johnson, 59, and James Johnson, 62, suffering from gunshot wounds,” the FCPD said. “The married couple lived in the home and were both taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.”

Saunders-Johnson died at the hospital, while Johnson remains there in “critical but stable condition,” police say.

The cause of death will be confirmed with an autopsy by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The FCPD says the charges were determined in consultation with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, noting that a firearm was found at the home.

The shooting remains under investigation. Police say Johnson will be transferred to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center once he is released from the hospital.

There have now been 15 homicides in Fairfax County this year, compared to 17 at this point and 21 overall in 2021.

Fairfax County’s Department of Family Services offers support for people experiencing or affected by domestic violence through its Domestic and Sexual Violence Services division:

The Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Division of the Department of Family Services would like to remind the community that there are many resources available for people experiencing domestic violence. The 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline, 703-360-7273; TTY 711, is a way to access community resources in Virginia and surrounding jurisdictions. DSVS offers compassionate and comprehensive state-accredited programs for women, men, teens and children who have been affected by domestic and sexual violence, stalking and human trafficking.

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