Man mistaken for intruder fatally shot by best friend

Dinwiddie: A man mistook his best friend for an intruder outside his Virginia home and fatally shot him, authorities said.

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Matthew Sharpf and his family were asleep in their home Tuesday night when Jonathan Hankins showed up unexpectedly, Sheriff’s Maj. William Knott told The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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Hankins “came banging around to the door and the side of the house,” Knott said. “I don’t know whether it was to shock him, or whether it was a joke or prank.”

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Sharpf went to the door with a handgun and saw the silhouette of a person outside, Knott said. A shot fired through the front door struck and killed Hankins, he said.

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“I don’t think he intended to shoot,” Knott said of Sharpf. “The gun discharged” it may have been an accident.”

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Hankins, who apparently went to Sharpf’s house in Dinwiddie County for a visit, didn’t announce who he was while outside Sharpf’s home, Knott said. The men, both 37, had been best friends for years, Knott said.

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Although the incident remains under investigation, Knott said there are no signs of a quarrel.

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A member of Sharpf’s family called the sheriff’s office, and deputies found Hankins dead.

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Sharpf was charged with voluntary manslaughter and released on an unsecured bond. He was arraigned Thursday and a preliminary hearing was set for July 26.

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