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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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  • P1010058_max50

    suprtrkr

    over 3 years ago

    672 Comments

    And the hits just keep on coming. God bless those families of the Officers that passed.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    May these Deputies Rest In Peace,God Bless them and their families.

  • Me_last_wk_max50

    delano388

    over 3 years ago

    4314 Comments

    RIP Brothers

  • Bearcat_smoke-rgb_max50

    JessLnC89

    over 3 years ago

    390 Comments

    RIP Deputies

  • 2011_range_day_2-19-10_max50

    USLawman1983

    over 3 years ago

    1572 Comments

    Prayers to the families, friends, the agency and the community who'ls been hit hard by this devastating event. This kind of thing is not likely to stop anytime soon so be extra vigilant out there. Train hard and often.
    RIP brothers.

  • Airplane_max50

    rmstone

    over 3 years ago

    5122 Comments

    Rest In Peace Brothers.

  • 1979_max50

    Robocop33

    over 3 years ago

    14618 Comments

    Rest in Peace my Brothers. Prayers for our wounded that they not only survive their wounds but recover and are able to return to their duties. God Bless and watch over the family and friends of all of these Officers. A very sad day for this County and for Law Enforcement.

  • Me2_max50

    bstites

    over 3 years ago

    1028 Comments

    RIP.

  • Policelinkbadge_max160_max50_max50

    Gombino

    over 3 years ago

    2658 Comments

    Rest in Peace, Brothers.

  • American_flag_eagle_max50

    NewYork911

    over 3 years ago

    1672 Comments

    God Speed Brothers...

  • Sheriff_3_max50

    sheriff950

    over 3 years ago

    5362 Comments

    How very sad! Rest in peace my Brothers... My thoughts and prayers go out to these brave Deputies, their families, friends and co-workers...

  • 70748_max50

    Stealth4387

    over 3 years ago

    188 Comments

    Rest in Peace Brothers. Praying for a speedy and full recovery of the other two deputies!

  • Clone_trooper_max50

    lkdavis71

    over 3 years ago

    1066 Comments

    Rest in Peace

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    We're in prayer for their families and colleagues of our slain brothers and for the complete recovery of our wounded.
    Det. Sgt. M.C. Williams
    Director/Chaplain, www.TheCenturionLawEnforcementMinistry.org

  • 041105-o-9999g-012_max50

    Rscheiterle

    over 3 years ago

    1822 Comments

    Rest in Peace Deputies, prayers for the family and a full recovery of the injured.

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