Suspects charged in slayings of decorated military couple outside Virginia home

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A married pair of highly decorated Army colonels — one a former White House nurse — were gunned down in their front yard in Virginia during a dispute with two young men, cops say.

Suspected killers D’Angelo Strand, 19, and Ronnie Keandre Marshall, 20, were apparently after the couple’s son when they executed Dr. Edward McDaniel Jr., 55, and his nurse wife, Brenda McDaniel, 63, in the Fairfax County suburb of Springfield around 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, authorities said

“Two pillars of our community — of our country, really — were gunned down viciously in their own front yard,” Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said at a press conference Thursday.

“Two full colonels were murdered in a residential neighborhood community. And for what? That’s what got us shaking our heads.”

Davis said the suspects worked with a relative of the couple and that the motive for the slayings involved some kind of “dispute.”

On Monday, two days before the heinous crime, Brenda McDaniel apparently called 911 to report a “burglary’’ and told the dispatcher that “the subject is after her son and that [the son] is with them upstairs,’’ NBC-TV reported.

The female caller said she and her husband had a shotgun and that the “subject’’ was in the basement, the outlet said.

The McDaniels were killed in what Davis called a “cold-blooded” crime at “point-blank range’’ two days later, with the killers driving off in a Nissan.

Cops launched a manhunt for their vehicle and spotted it in nearby Lorton around 7:20 a.m. Thursday — with Strand behind the wheel, police said, according to the Washington Post.

Officers took him into custody and nabbed Marshall less than seven hours later at a county intersection.

The pair was charged with second-degree murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony and are being held without bond at the Fairfax County jail.

Brenda McDaniel served in the Army from 1983 to 2009 and worked as the White House nurse during the Clinton administration, the Washington Post said.

She retired as a colonel after two stints in Iraq and winning numerous awards, including the Legion of Merit.

Edward McDaniel’s mother told the outlet that her son joined the Army in 1995 and also had done two tours of Iraq. His military medals included those for Meritorious Service, Army Commendation and National Defense Service and the Combat Medic Badge.

At the time of his murder, Edward was a doctor of internal medicine at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia, where he served as the director of executive medicine, Army officials told the outlet.

Edward was set to retire from service in November but planned to keep working as a doctor, said his mother, Felicia McDaniel.

“They loved their country,” Edward’s mom told the Washington paper of the couple. “They loved their service. They loved the people who were their patients.”

Army spokesman Hudson Bull added to The Post, “Both were military medical professionals, and we thank them for their service to our country.”

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