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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.

  • Patch_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Rest in Peace.

  • Honorvalor_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Rest in Peace Deputies

  • Pug_max600_max50


    over 4 years ago


    RIP Brothers.

  • Photo_max50


    over 4 years ago


    R.I.P. our law enforcement brothers!

  • Flags_and_stars_max50


    over 4 years ago


    RIP brothers

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    RIP to both love always!!!

  • Garita2_max50


    over 4 years ago



  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    Rest in peace, deputies.

  • Btjustice_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Rest in Peace Brothers. Prayers to the families and the police community.
    Prayers to the injured officers, may you have a healthy recovery.

  • Img_3794ma26750579-0005_max50


    over 4 years ago


    To family and friends:
    'God didn’t promise days without pain,
    laughter without sorrow, sun without rain;
    but He did promise strength for the day,
    comfort for the tears and light for the way'.

    Rest in peace Deputy Sheriff William Stiltner and Deputy Sheriff Cameron Justus.

  • Police_link_badge_max50


    over 4 years ago



  • K9-wallpaper_max50


    over 4 years ago


    RIP Brothers.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Having been a patrol cop in such places like South Central L.A. back in the SIXTIES AND SEVENTY's I can tell one and all we got the job done. Enough said.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    I told a Deputy friend of mine (i'm a city cop, btw) that in Afghanistan, Iraq, wherever peace keeping missions are soldiers always have that Assault weapon at the ready, by their side, because it's a war. I then told him that we NEED to start just walking up to 911 calls, traffic stops, etc with our AR's cocked, locked, and ready, just like that. My reasoning is that we, as LE, are also apparently in a war...with evil.
    He told me, "Nah, people would just get scared or worried."
    Well folks if they aren't scared or worried by now, then I'm a three legged duck. Since it seems like an officer (or officer's) get's killed just about daily now, I don't think it would hurt to keep an AR by my side on any police activity, do you? Seeing a cop with an AR by his side should if anything soothe law abiding people. It sends the message this cop is here to protect you in this thing called today's society. He's ready to combat evil for you.

    I honestly think something is actively working against the very fabric of America. Never before have there been mass officer shootings like this. Police officer's from small towns to big cities- they form the backbone of what your average citizen's reality is- the pursuit of happiness (food, security, health, home, money). You take away security, and suddenly you have the unraveling of society. Are we gonna go down that path like Mexico has, or are we gonna admit it's time to wage war on evil here in America? Admit it's time to fight back? Admit that our current ways fail us? Admit that the legal system is a joke?

    This isn't the 1960's, 70's, 80's or even 90's policing. This is a new era in which old police ways do not work. We have become a pussified, liberal society in which all respect for Law Enforcement has been lost. Think about that for a second...respect for law enforcement has been lost.

    The Chiefs of police, the Sheriffs, the Trooper Commanders-we all need to get together and create an unified Police policy for the entire nation. One that demands Cops wear BDU's. Demands Assault Rifles by the side at every call or stop. Demands rifle resistant plates in all body armor. Demands higher pay for all LE (we are at war after all.) Send the message to criminals!

    Lastly, we need a criminal justice system overhaul in America that includes extreme penalties for any crimes involving drugs. These drug crimes need to be treated the same way homicide charges are today or even worse, please include the death penalty! Send the message to criminals!

    I am a firm believer in someone's constitutional rights, and of probable cause. PC and rights should NEVER go away, and should be implemented in any core law change. But I think if the above changes were implemented (keeping PC and rights, of course) America would be safe and secure once more.

    It doesn't take a Genius to see the path we are headed down. Hell, just take a look around...

  • 0524001248_0001_0001_max50


    over 4 years ago


    RIP Brothers, And for the families left behind, may God give you comfort and healing during this time of mourning.

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