"It tears a family apart": Family mourning father killed in road rage shooting

Published: Jan. 9, 2019 at 6:45 PM EST
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Road rage led to tragedy Tuesday afternoon. A Lynchburg man is dead and another is behind bars in Pittsylvania County.

James Hooper, III, 46, is charged with first degree murder. He's accused of killing Jacob Steele Robertson, 27, at a gas station yesterday after an argument on the highway.

According to an arrest warrant, Robertson and Hooper got into an argument while driving on Route 29. Both cars pulled over at the Circle K convenience store and gas station in Blairs.

Moments later, Robertson was dead.

"Senseless,” said Austin Steele Robertson, Jacob’s brother. “I mean there's no point in it.”

Deputies are calling it a case of "road rage". They say Hooper got out of his car at the gas station and shot Robertson, who was a passenger, twice.

In the arrest warrant, deputies wrote that Hooper acknowledged pulling into the pump to confront Robertson about, “why he ran him off the roadway.”

“The individual didn't give him any chance to calm things down or make things better,” said Austin Robertson. “He just went right to shooting.”

Hooper has a violent criminal history that includes a guilty plea to assault and battery charges in Danville. He also has a criminal history out of North Carolina. According to a Caswell County clerk, Hooper pleaded guilty to robbery in 2003 in a case where one man was shot and killed.

Pittsylvania County deputies said Hooper was not supposed to have a gun. He was also charged with one felony count of using a firearm in the commission of a murder and one felony count of possession of a firearm by a violent felon.

Robertson leaves behind an eight-year-old son, fiance, and his parents. His little brother was tasked with telling their father.

"How can you ever tell his father that his child passed away,” said Austin Robertson. “I tried to think of the words to say but they wouldn't come out. Eventually I had to tell him...Jake...he was shot and killed."

Now, the family says they work on recovering and remembering Robertson for the good memories and laughs he provided.

"He was always someone to make you smile,” said Austin Robertson. “If you were down, he picked you back up."

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