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A man suspected of shooting dead eight people before disappearing into dense woods in rural Virginia has surrendered without incident, Virginia state police said.

Sergeant Thomas Molnar said 39-year-old Christopher Speight approached officers at the scene of the shootings in Appomattox, and turned himself in at about 7am local time.

Officials said Speight was acquainted with the victims, but details of the relationships were not released. Police were still working to identify the victims and notify their families.

The drama began around noon yesterday when a critically injured man was spotted by a narrow country road. He died on the way to the hospital. Seven other men and women were found dead inside and outside a nearby home.

Police surrounded a two-mile stretch of heavily wooded terrain overnight. As teams tried to flush out the gunman, he fired at a police helicopter and hit a fuel tank, forcing it to land. No police officers were injured.

Sheriff Wilson Staples said investigators believe Speight had weapons training based on the weapons found in his home, but he declined to elaborate.

Speight surrendered after a manhunt involving more than 100 police and helicopters with thermal imaging.

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