Christiansburg town manager Steve Biggs died at 3:41 a.m. Wednesday after shooting himself in the head Tuesday following a four-hour standoff with town police.
Biggs, 53, killed himself after a month-long emergency protective order expired. The order came from 23-year-old Rachel Waltz’s claims of harassment and after Biggs issued a stop payment on a $1,000 check he had given her as a payment to pay attorney feels for a driving while intoxicated charge on Christmas Day of 2016.
Her attempt to extend the the order for another 15 days failed when a judge ruled that she had not provided proof of any “credible threat.”
In her complaint, she said:
He for the past month would go back and forth between texting me saying he ‘loved’ me and trying to give me gifts, to texting me things like ‘the more jealous you are of a person the less you care about their suffering,’ and that I’m a piece of shit, just using him, no one will love me, etc.
Virginia State Police investigated the complaint and turned their findings over to Montgomery County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettit, who declined to prosecute Biggs for any claimed harassment.
Biggs discussed the situation twice with The Roanoke Times and said a “friendly relationship” with Waltz ended because she said he made comments she felt were offensive.
“I offended…I never threatened,” he told the Times. He cited the judge’s decision to allow the protective to expire and the findings of the state police report on his actions.
Both Biggs and Waltz said they met shortly before he began his nine-month stint as Christiansburg town manager. Biggs came to Christiansburg serving as town manager in Clayton, North Carolina. His wife and three children did not make the move to Virginia with him and he texted Waltz that he wanted her to have his baby and start a new family with her because “my wife would definitely leave me.”
Yet both referred to their “relationship” as “friendly but not physical.”
However, something spurred the situation Tuesday that led to a standoff with police and Biggs shot himself in the head with a gun, ending his life and his $140,000 year job as Christiansburg town manager.
Police responded to a call that brought officers to Bigg’s apartment building on Montague Street shortly after midnight Monday and he shot himself nearly four hours later in the early .
Waltz says she refused jewelry that Biggs tried to give her and money for legal fees. Biggs also said he paid “hundreds of dollars” for her rent and new car tires and bought jewelry for her. He told The Roanoke Times that all he told his family about Waltz was that he had “a situation with a neighbor.” Waltz lived in another apartment in the building but moved out with her roommate on March 31.
“It’s absolutely horrible something like this happened,” she said Wednesday. Biggs’ family is not saying anything at this point.
What exactly happened between midnight Monday and the few hours before Biggs shot himself in the early morning hours of Tuesday is still not clear.
The Town Council appointed Assistant Town Manager Randy Wingfield as interim manager while they look for a permanent replacement.
The Town Manager position in Christiansburg has a history of controversy. The Town Council fired manager Lance Terpenny but gave him more than a year’s severance package as a going away gift that he took with him at his next job as Floyd’s new part-time town manager.
Terpenny with his custom Harley-Davidson motorcycle, long flowing white hair and beard, finished out his “public service” career in Floyd at the end of 2014 and by most accounts was a better fit in Floyd than with Christianburg.
Terpenny left his job alive.
Steve Biggs did not. He came to Christiansburg with a long career that apparently included good reports on his role as town manager in North Carolina. Yet after nine apparently turbulent months as manager the largest incorporated town in Virginia, he took his own life.
(Information in this article includes information from articles written for The Roanoke Times by Yann Ranaivo and material gathered by research and other information obtained by Blue Ridge Muse)