Nordenson Standoff Ends Safely

Craig Nordenson has been apprehended. After being forced out of the garage of a home at 1108 East Market Street, reportedly the home of Katie Johnson’s grandparents, he was taken into custody and is, as I’m typing, being loaded into a wagon. This appears to bring the whole saga to a close, though a long trial for the murders of Johnson and Marcus Griffin stretches ahead. But a lot of questions linger.

26 thoughts on “Nordenson Standoff Ends Safely”

  1. Thanks for the excellent coverage.

    Plenty of questions do remain, concerning the story of what happened, police response, the coal tower land area etc..

    At 20 years old, I expect the court case will not be sealed, but he very well might cop a plea which would mean a lot of info would not become public.

    How overloaded is the public defenders office in cville, anyone have experiences with them? It’s unlikely he has a ton of money, and his father has a restraining order against him.

    Also, the 7 year suspended sentence he received may very well become unsuspended because of this.

  2. And I would’ve gotten away with it, too. If it wasn’t for those meddling kids!!!!

  3. Insane! I used to live on Jefferson Street until 3 months ago. Now I’m in Raleigh. I moved away too soon!

    So, Waldo, is this whole thing going to be the Gulf War to your CNN? Excellent coverage. My wife called me at work and breathlessly related to me how the gunman was holed up “just down the street from where we lived! Go look at!”

    I wouldn’t have heard about any of this without your site. Thanks.

  4. If the guy hasn’t hanged himself by now, I doubt he’s got any plans for it. I gotta admit, he sounds like one wily sonuvagun. You’d think, however, that you’d tend to stay away from the area in which you’d just committed two murders.

  5. Anybody have any information as to Craig’s motive?

    And why the heck did he run into his victim’s grandparents’ house? It was within eyeshot of the coal tower. Was this a bizarre coincidence?

    If Craig snuck out of the tower at 8:30 pm last night, then how could he have fired 2 shots from the tower at police at 2:30 am? Why did the police say that he had fired the shots? If he didn’t, then who did?

    The first one of you that says anything to the effect of ‘Colonel Mustard in the Billiards room with the pistol’ loses 4 points.


  6. Probably couldn’t:

    a. live without his bedroll

    b. resist seeing the action his actions caused

  7. I can’t help but suspect that perhaps he wanted to get caught. I mean, come on, anyone with half a brain (which this guy probably has, considering he’s held off SWAT teams on two different occassions) knows that you never return to the scene of your crime unless you have a really good reason. Now, obviously the whole story is far from revealed, and I think it’s only going to get more interesting from here on out, but I can’t think of any likely, good reason for him to return to the coal tower. I tend to think he wanted to get caught (perhaps he felt guilty?) and then thought better of it once the police showed up, so he fired some shots and then got away.

  8. or,

    c. Wanted to find money, drugs, etc. that may have been hidden there and been the motive for murder inthe first place (not that there’s any proof of this- it’s just an interesting theory that fits the facts).


    d) Never left in first place, but rather remained ingeniously hidden somehow at the scene of the crime.


  9. Highly unlikely. He would have known that they probably wouldn’t have had enough money to warrant robbery.

  10. I disagree, he deserves the humiliation of a trial and sentencing. He will probably get the death penalty, or else two life sentences without parole. He may try to cop an insanity plea, but that’s very difficult in Virginia, which uses the strict and old-fashioned M’Naughten rule for insanity defenses.

    Re: plea bargain: no Commonwealth’s Attorney in his right mind would plea this case out; once they recover the gun there’ll be plenty of physical evidence to get a conviction

    Re: public defenders: they probably won’t be handling this one. For a high-profile case like this the court will appoint a relatively experienced defense attorney.

    – Bruce

  11. No, Craig actually left well before the shots were fired. It’s looking like he may never have fired at the police. Rather, he slipped out as soon as it got dark enough. After that, the cops spent all night surrounding an empty coal tower. It’s surprising that he didn’t take advantage of the situation to get farther away.

    He has more than half a brain, by the way. I once had a 2 hour conversation with him in which I found him to be very well versed in botany, life sciences, chemistry, abstract reasoning, history of firearms, etc. A very, very sharp guy. His deadpan expression hides what’s really going on in there. And it’s definitely a shame that he had this sort of thing in him, because if he could have gone to school and avoided crime he could have gone a long way. He had the potential to do a lot more than steal cars and sell drugs. Well above average. Which of course only adds to the blame one can place on him for his crimes. He knew better.

    I personally doubt that he wanted to get caught. But there are people who know him much better than I do who could give you more insight into him.


  12. Yeah. Besides, Katy had been shot point blank in the chest (supposedly). That doesn’t jive with being shot while running away. That sounds more like being shot while sleeping. Or at least more of an execution-style murder than a sloppy pursuit of some sort.


  13. Umm. No? This is a legitimate news page, could we please try to avoid posting just anything clever that happens to come to mind? Besides, there are a few people who might just take that post seriously, and causing hysteria among the masses is neither a good nor socially acceptable idea.

  14. So, Waldo, is this whole thing going to be the Gulf War to your CNN? Excellent coverage. My wife called me at work and breathlessly related to me how the gunman was holed up “just down the street from where we lived! Go look at!”

    I wouldn’t have heard about any of this without your site. Thanks.

    That’s very kind of you. This has actually proven to me that a community news site works when a sufficient number of people contribute. I just typed in stories — Munk, Jack, and Janis provided on-the-spot updates, and countless folks provided news and updates via postings and e-mail. Best of all are all of the insightful comments and on-going efforts to unravel exactly what happened here.

    What this is, I think, is community news’ Gulf War. Sure, there’s more inaccuracy when just anybody can report. But there’s a lot more information, and that’s the part that I’m excited about.

    Thank you to everybody that made this possible over the last 18 hours. We done good.

  15. 7 year suspended sentence he received

    What? I hadn’t heard any of this. What happened when, etc? A source? Anything?

  16. I’m not sure what it was for, but he has an extensive criminal record, and at one point got 7 years for something, but had it suspended

  17. No one’s really mentioned it, but I want to be overtly thankful for the kid that got away and all the police, fire, and rescue folks involved in the events of last night and this afternoon. Around midnight or one last night I realized that my community includes the boy in the coal tower and those trying to talk him down. I’m glad no one else had to be hurt to calm this situation and let us move on with our grief and remembrances.

  18. Here’s what I heard while standing around on Market Street, talking to the traffic cop who was blocking the street, and to a guy who works at the oxygen supply company. (I think it’s Wayne Oxygen and Welding Supply Company.)

    At 8:30 this morning, the suspect left the coal tower (or maybe that’s when he was discovered to be missing). At 10:30 this morning – without warning the people at Wayne Oxygen – tear gas was fired in the area out behind the oxygen building, which backs up to the bushes and trees adjacent to the coal tower area.

    A Wayne employee and some customers, all of whom had been out behind the building, came rushing inside, suffering the effects of having been tear-gassed.

    At that time, people inside the building heard footsteps on the roof above their heads. They called the police and reported this.

    A Wayne employee later checked up on the roof and found muddy footprints. It’s theorized that the suspect climbed up on the roof around 8:30 AM, hid under the raised air-conditioning unit (where he would have been unobservable by helicopters or by heat-seeking devices, because the AC exhaust unit is itself a source of heat) and was flushed out of his hiding place by the 10:30 AM tear-gas assault.

    The big question is, of course, how the hell did this guy manage to escape from the tower in the first place? Tessering?

    And how did he cover all that ground between the tower and Wayne Oxygen without being seen? The distance looks to be about the length of a football field. That was some touchdown.

    If the cops had surrounded the tower, his escape would have been detected. So, how many cops were there, and exactly where were they at 8:30 AM?

    Janis Jaquith

  19. Regarding whose grandparents’ home Nordenson was barricaded in today: The word on the street was that Katy was his former girlfriend (that’s the first I’d heard of that) and these were the grandparents of his current girlfriend. Further, the street scuttlebut held that police weren’t storming the garage where Nordenson was holed up for fear of harming the girlfriend. Did they find anyone else in there with him? I don’t know.

    Janis Jaquith

  20. If there was another person there, it wasn’t mentioned. The press at the scene generally agreed it was the victim’s grandparents’ house, that two people (a man and woman) had been evacuated from the home while the neigboring houses were cleared out.

    They seemed to agree that it was a chase up East Jefferson that had led to the garage, but that might have been a fabrication.

  21. It seems, accoring to the Progress, that the resident of the home Craig ended up didn’t know him and wasn’t related to anoyne involved.

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