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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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  • La_riot_max50

    r2blt

    over 3 years ago

    28 Comments

    Another sad story of needless loss. But, as a reminder. More law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in the late 1960's and into the 1970's than at anytime in history. That was with a smaller population than we have now. Ambush and ruse was the favorite tactic of the time by those of the radical left and the regular criminal element.

    Rest in peace officers, and give peace to the families.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    Trust me, folks, this was no robbery; it was a planned ambush. The business was closed at the time, middle of the day, and the shooter was in a position of cover to fire upon the deputies as they arrived. A planned attack on Law Enforcement.

  • Eagle-3_max50

    Cap701

    over 3 years ago

    116 Comments

    As you departed the bonds of this earth and touched the face of God, know that the service and dedication you had for your department, its fellow officers and the citizens of your community will never be forgotten. May God comfort in this time of sorrow your family, your fellow officers and all those whose lives you have touched. RIP brother, we’ll take it from here.

  • Pa_iii_frank_dimiceli_01_max50

    FBD183

    over 3 years ago

    728 Comments

    REST IN PEACE BROTHER

  • Pa_iii_frank_dimiceli_01_max50

    FBD183

    over 3 years ago

    728 Comments

    REST IN PEACE BROTHERS

  • 100_3588_max50

    1joshua9

    over 3 years ago

    4 Comments

    RIP and may the Lord watch over your families and comfort them during this time.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    motor141

    over 3 years ago

    54 Comments

    RIP BROTHERS, my prayers go to all involved.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    jeffco1

    over 3 years ago

    342 Comments

    Rest in peace brothers in arms. Our thoughts and prayers go out to your family, friends and co-workers. For the other deputys that were injured I hope that you recover quickly.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    rsironron

    over 3 years ago

    5220 Comments

    Rest in peace my Brothers, my thoughts and prayers to your family and may the otgher two deputies get well soon.

  • Hpim0324_max50

    boritico

    over 3 years ago

    928 Comments

    R.I.P.B.

  • Angel_guards_police_max50

    DaleMc

    over 3 years ago

    58 Comments

    RIP Brothers

  • Lol_sun_in_clouds_02_max50

    Djfludd

    over 3 years ago

    230 Comments

    ...

  • Jigfish6_max50

    Nitroman

    over 3 years ago

    448 Comments

    RIP BROTHERS, You will never be forgotten!!!

  • Geiger_max50

    David4946

    over 3 years ago

    1326 Comments

    Rest In Peace

  • White_shirt_max50

    uncledennis1

    over 3 years ago

    23296 Comments

    R.I.P. Brothers.

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