Search for Murder Suspect Prompts Shelter-In-Place, Closes Schools in Roanoke

Nov 14, 2019

Roanoke Police Chief Tim Jones holds a flier with pictures of Michael Alexander Brown.
Credit David Seidel/Radio IQ

Roanoke police say a Franklin County murder suspect was spotted early Thursday morning, setting off a shelter in place warning and closing city schools.

Updated: 6:10 pm

After consulting with police, officials say Roanoke City schools will be open Friday. 

Updated: 3:30 pm

The shelter-in-place warning for neighborhoods around Patrick Henry High School has been lifted.  But police still urge residents to keep their doors and cars locked and to report any suspicious activity.

Updated: 2:45 pm

Roanoke's police chief says officers are still searching the neighborhoods around Patrick Henry High School for murder suspect Michael Alexander Brown.  Police are telling residents to keep their doors and cars locked and to report any suspicious activity.

Chief Tim Jones says Brown is likely in the Roanoke area because of family connections.  Early Thursday morning, Brown was seen knocking on a window of his grandmother's house on Tillett Road.  A neighbor reported the suspicious activity to police.

Police have been in touch with Brown's family and they, along with police, are encouraging him to surrender.

Jones says Brown may be walking and could be in neighboring communities, though police are still focused  on the Grandin Road area.  "This is not the day to leave your vehicle running on a convenience store lot," Jones notes in an afternoon news conference, "or to be offering strangers rides."  Jones said there's no reason to believe the public is directly threatened.  But he added that Brown is wanted on both state and federal charges and may be armed.  "And if he's confronted or pushed into a situation where he believes he has no alternative, he may use force."

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Original Story:

Michael Alexander Brown was spotted in the Tillett Road area of Roanoke.   Police describe him as a white man, about 6 feet tall with brown hair and wearing a black jacket.

A closer view of the images on a flier issued by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

During a news conference Thursday morning, Police Chief Tim Jones said a homeowner reported a suspicious person tapping on windows  on Tillett Road early Thursday morning.  Police responded and found an RV Brown was known to have been driving parked at a church on Grandin Road.  Jones said police believe Brown is trying to find another source of transportation out of the area.

A shelter-in-place warning remains in effect for a half-mile area around Patrick Henry High School.  Police say there’s no direct threat to schools, but there are several in the neighborhood. As a precaution the city closed all its schools.  Several in the area are also being used as staging areas for police in the search.

Michael Brown is charged with killing his mother’s boyfriend in the Hardy area of Franklin County over the weekend.  Police say he is a U. S. Marine who deserted his assignment in North Carolina.  They believe he has access to firearms and should be considered armed and dangerous.