Virginia Beach cop shoots, injures ‘suspect,’ bystander

VIRGINIA BEACH — A police officer here responding to calls of shots being fired shot and injured “an armed suspect,” Sunday night.

A round fired from the officer’s gun also struck a bystander, and police called the injury as “non-life-threatening.”

It wasn’t until 4:48 p.m. Monday that Police Chief James Cervera provided that information about one of his officers.

He said the release of information should have been made sooner.

“Although we will continue to provide updates as the investigation proceeds, I recognize the fact that additional information should have been provided in a timelier manner,” Cervera said in a prepared statement. “Despite the miscommunication that occurred within the command late last night (Sunday), we will be more diligent in relaying such information the future.”

Officials did not release any information about the officer, including a name, saying “this is still a very fluid investigation, additional details will be provided as soon as they become available.​”

Cervera only said the officer, who was not injured, is a “a 30-plus year veteran of the department.”

“As per department policy, a three-tiered investigation will be conducted by the Departments Investigative Division, the Internal Affairs Division, and the Office of the Commonwealth Attorney,” said police spokeswoman Linda Kuehn. “The officers involved will be placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigations​.”

Police said dispatchers received several 911 calls about shots fired in the Lake Edward area of the city at around 9:55 p.m. Sunday — in the 5800 block of Pickering Street.

Kuehn said responding officers “heard the gunfire and located/confronted an armed suspect near the intersection of Redkirk Lane and Pickering Street.”

Cervera said after officers arrived at the scene, they saw “an individual” armed with a handgun outside a residence. He did not identify the individual.

“The officer immediately gave the armed individual verbal commands in an attempt to deescalate the situation; however, he did not comply,” Cervera said.  “Shortly thereafter, our officer fired his service weapon, striking the individual, and then immediately rendered first aid.”

The individual suffered a “non-life-threatening” injury, police said.

As officers were securing the scene, they received a report of a person possibly injured in the gunfire.

Police found that person in nearby home suffering from an apparent non-life threatening gunshot wound, Cervera said. That person was taken to a local hospital for treatment and was subsequently released.

“​At this time, it appears this individual was struck by a round fired from our officer’s service weapon during the initial armed confrontation,” Cervera said. “Both the original suspect and the separate gunshot wound victim were transported to a local hospital for treatment. At this time, the victim has been released and charges are pending for the suspect.”

Cervera said the officer involved will be placed on “administrative assignment.”

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.