Suicide ruled as cause of Roark death

Published 8:18 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A 74-year-old Drakes Branch man whose body was found at the scene of a Lunenburg County fire committed suicide, a spokesman for the State Medical Examiner’s Office said.

Donald F. Roark died from a contact gunshot wound to the chest, said the office’s State Administrator Arkuie Williams.

Roark was found dead on Thursday, Feb. 25, when deputies with the Lunenburg County Sheriff’s Office responded to a fire at 4199 Fort Mitchell Drive.

The sheriff’s office had been notified about a report of a fire by the Mecklenburg County 911 Center. Lunenburg deputies, along with the Chase City, Boydton and Victoria fire departments, responded.

A Mecklenburg deputy and volunteer firefighter entered the house and found Roark.

No other people were found at the house, which was destroyed by the fire.

Two neighbors stated they heard a gunshot, went over, and noticed the house was on fire, stated a press release from the Lunenburg sheriff’s office.

The release stated one neighbor attempted to use a water hose on the fire while the other called 911.

“According to Lunenburg District Court records, on Feb. 12, Mr. Roark was the subject of a protective order granted to a woman with whom he had been living (with) for more than 18 years,” the release noted.

“According to the affidavit, they had been separated for about a month,” stated the release.

“She alleged he came to her house … beating on the doors trying to enter, but left afterwards. She also reported that a tire had been cut on her car and one on her truck on a previous date.”