Danville officers shoot, kill man after he turned on them ‘in a threatening manner’

Danville officers shoot, kill man after he turned on them ‘in a threatening manner’

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Sunset Drive

On Sunday afternoon, the 200 block of Sunset Drive was quiet. 

Danville officers shot and killed a suspect — the second deadly incident involving city police this year — following a domestic disturbance call in the early morning hours Sunday, police report.

Police have not identified the suspect or officers involved and have turned the case over to the Virginia State Police to investigate.

Corinne Geller, public relations director for the Virginia State Police, told the Register & Bee the man will be identified once the next of kin is notified.

The series of events began when officers were called at about 1 a.m. Sunday to a parking lot in the 2300 block of North Main Street for the report of a domestic assault.

While responding, the caller — described by police as a 22-year-old woman — told dispatchers she went back to her home in the 200 block of Sunset Drive “in an attempt to escape her attacker,” a news release stated.

The suspect followed her there and tried to force his way into the home, police report.

When officers arrived on Sunset Drive they found the woman and suspect outside.

“Physical evidence at the scene supported the woman’s allegations of an assault, which gave the officers probable cause to arrest the male,” the release stated.

Police reported as the officers approached the man, he began walking away from them and ignored their “repeated commands to stop.”

He then got into a vehicle and drove into a wooded area nearby.

“He again refused the officers’ commands to, this time, show his hands and to exit his vehicle.” the release stated. “The male suspect finally exited his vehicle but refused to show his hands.”

A Taser was used to try to apprehend the suspect.

Then, police report, the suspect “suddenly turned on the officers in a threatening manner.”

That’s when officers fired their weapons at the man. Police did not disclose how many officers fired shots.

The suspect was transported to SOVAH Health-Danville where he was pronounced dead.

No officers were injured during this incident.

By Sunday afternoon, the 200 block of Sunset Drive was quiet.

Lois Harper has lived on Sunset Drive for 22 years. She said she didn’t know anything about a shooting nearby until police knocked on her door at about 6 a.m. Sunday.

“I didn’t hear anything,” Harper said.

This shooting marks the second officer-involved fatality this year. The incident comes two days after Danville Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Newman announced no charges would be sought against officer Justin P. Nelson who exchanged gunfire with and killed Richard Towler, 54, following a 45-minute standoff early in the morning on Jan. 7.

After Towler was shot and fell to the porch, officers entered the residence and found Crystal Averett, 38, dead in a bedroom, as well as a pet dog dead in the hallway. Newman said both were killed by the same shotgun Towler used on police.

Citing protocol, the Virginia State Police has taken over the investigation, police said.

“In accordance with Danville Police Department policy, the officers have been placed on administrative assignment, and their names will be released in three days,” the release stated.

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