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Two Deputies Dead in Salvage Yard Shooting Rampage

Two Deputies Dead in Salvage Yard Shooting Rampage

A gunman opened fire on sheriff's deputies responding to a robbery call at a rural salvage yard on Sunday, killing two and injuring two others before being killed in a shootout, Virginia State Police said. [AP]

Associated Press

March 14, 2011

VANSANT, Va. — A small southwestern Virginia community is again dealing with a deadly shooting rampage that this time killed two deputies and wounded two more before the suspect who may have been trying to rob a salvage yard was fatally shot by police.

Buchanan County deputies investigating at Roger’s Service Center in Vansant on Sunday afternoon were met by gunfire from long range, Virginia State Police said. Two were hit and died at the scene. Two others who arrived also were shot, said State Police Sgt. Steve Lowe.

One deputy has life-threatening injuries and the other was in serious condition, state police said. No names were released late Sunday.

Christina Stiltner lives across the street from the salvage yard in the southwestern Virginia area and had just walked into her home with her 10-year-old son when she heard “pow, pow, pow.”

She opened her front door and saw one deputy run into a neighbor’s yard. She heard another “pow” and the deputy went down. He was one of the injured, she said.

“It scares you so much,” she said. “I sat there thinking ’what’s the number to 911’? It shocked me so badly, I didn’t know the number to 911.”

Residents said such violence is rare in the rural area of about 1,000 people, though in January 2002, a student opened fire on the Appalachian School of Law campus in Grundy just down the road from Vansant after learning he had flunked out of school.

The school’s dean, a professor and a student were killed in the attack. Three other students were wounded. The shooter, Peter Odighizuwa, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.

“This is a laid-back community. Everybody knows everybody,” said Tivis O’Quinn, 68, who has lived in Vansant for 40 years and operates a business less than a mile from the salvage yard. “Nothing like this ever takes place, except for the law school shooting.”

Police did not release what sort of weapon was used, but Lowe said the suspect shot from long range. The owner of the salvage yard told police his business was being robbed and he had blocked the suspect’s vehicle with his own.

After the shooting, the search was on for the suspect. State police and other officers found him about two hours later and after “some sort of engagement” they shot and killed him, Lowe said.

“I’m not sure what the confrontation was when they encountered him,” Lowe said. “Apparently he was identified as the right person.”

Lowe said he didn’t know if the man fired on police, or if he was armed at the time.

Stiltner said she knew all the deputies involved in the attack because they would often stop by the gas station and restaurant where she works.

Stiltner said she wasn’t allowed to return to her home seven hours after the shootings ended. Several other residents were out of their homes late Sunday.

Vansant is a former coal mining town in the mountainous region of southwestern Virginia. O’Quinn said the community experiences “little petty thefts now and then,” but nothing like what occurred Sunday.

On display in O’Quinn’s office was a 2011 calendar of the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Department. The photo features the department’s 47 members, including Foster and 24 uniformed deputies.

Buchanan County Sheriff Ray Foster called the shooting “one of a kind” for his department but declined to say anymore.

According to the website The Officer Down Memorial Page, the last Buchanan County sheriff to die in the line of duty was in 1975 of a heart attack. The website lists four on-duty deaths for the department since 1905. The last by gunfire was in 1964.


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  • 101_max50

    gman3858

    about 3 years ago

    318 Comments

    Rest in peace Brother.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    zerowolf

    about 3 years ago

    4 Comments

    Another preventable tragedy...a bad arrest...another over reaction on getting the "perp". What is next..the criminals and the Police meet on the Gettysburg Battle Field for a three day shoot out? Overall system is a failure starting witrh the Court system and our poorly educated populace. Guns and bullets are not getting us
    "there". Let's try some counseling, reading, and drug and alcohol treatment for both the criminals and the Police. Drop atomic bombs on a civilian city and then be shocked when millions die...Let's get real. This is a broken system of justice that will not be corrected with more swat raids or police executions of the first
    suspicious character they question.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    zerowolf

    about 3 years ago

    4 Comments

    another police execution...they think they got the right man...real killer is still on the loose most likely. All over some scrap parts...Police math is deficient in every case.

  • Eod_max50

    EOD300

    about 3 years ago

    2278 Comments

    Rest In Peace, Brothers...

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50_max50

    CAZ

    about 3 years ago

    1428 Comments

    To my Two Brothers in Arms RIP. Thank you for the service you so proudly displayed everyday. To my Two Brothers who are injured. GODSPEED FOR A COMPLETE RECOVERY. My prayers to all dealing with this tragic situation.

    To the Subject who is no longer here on this planet May God forgive me but I hope you burn in HE**!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Sheepdog1

    about 3 years ago

    480 Comments

    RIP brothers

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    SHARRI8

    about 3 years ago

    106 Comments

    THE WORLD HAS GONE NUTS... I DO PRIVATE DUTY IN THE PATIENTS HOME... I NEVER KNOW TIL I AM ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR...WHAT I AM IN FOR. THIS LAST JOB I HAD MY CAR HAD SOME KIND OF SPRAY PAINTED DOWN THE DOOR STRIP.... THIS ALSO HAPPENED ON MY LAST JOB.....THIS TIME IT WAS REPORTED TO THE POLICE. HE JUST BLEW IT OFF AS SOME KIND OF CORROSION. HE SHOULD HAVE LOOKED A LITTLE DEEPER.....I BELIEVE IT HAS TO DO WITH ME UNCOVRING SOMETHING THATS BEEN HIDDEN IN THE HOME CONCERNING THE CLIENT I AM TAKING OF.SOME FAMILY DONT WANT THEIR LOVED ONES TO GRT BETTER.....OR FOR THE TRUTH TO COME TO LIGHT.....I PRAY I DONT GRT A REPEAT PERFORMANCE ON THE JOB I START FRIDAY 3/18/2011........THIS IS TOO CONNECTED....

  • Somegiveall_max160_max160_max50

    MIKIESPLACE

    about 3 years ago

    1366 Comments

    this appears to have been an ambush. i see no other way to describe it.to shoot law enforcement officers from long range rather than use that distance to flee......glad the pos was put down. good work to those men.

    TO THOSE OFFICERS KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY-REST IN PEACE BROTHERS
    TO THOSE OFFICERS INJURED IN THE LINE OF DUTY-rest and be well.

  • 12235_sq90_max50

    chiefkcr

    about 3 years ago

    3620 Comments

    RIP My Brothers, GOD be with you and yours.

  • Mardi_gras_cat_max50

    DonnaLynn

    about 3 years ago

    10490 Comments

    Rest in peace Deputies.

    Everyone,
    Watch your six and that of your brothers/sisters'! It's getting uglier by the minute out there!
    DL

  • Badge_2__1__max50

    bigbowden

    about 3 years ago

    180 Comments

    May you rest in peace, my brothers. May God comfort and bless your families and friends.

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50_max50

    aussie4

    about 3 years ago

    5328 Comments

    No matter how well prepared you are, if you are caught in a trap you can pay the supreme price. God Bless these Leo's and their families.

  • Uniphone1_max50

    batman2944

    about 3 years ago

    738 Comments

    Rest in Peace Brothers/Sisiters(?) and God Bless! Get well soon other Deputies. I'm praying for you!!

    "Stay in the Fight"

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    May you rest in peace, my brothers. May God comfort and bless your families and friends.

  • Dhs_max50

    WACollector

    about 3 years ago

    764 Comments

    Rest In Peace, Brother.

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