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VSP: Wythe suspect apparently shot himself

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

 MAX MEADOWS – A 50-year-old Max Meadows man apparently shot himself after firing at two Wythe County deputies Sunday night, according to Virginia State Police.

Sgt. Michael Conroy said authorities expect to charge Richard Duane Brooks with “several felonies” in connection with a 7 p.m. shooting incident that occurred outside Brooks’ 123 Maransa Way home in Max Meadows.

According to police, Wythe County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to the residence for a “domestic altercation.” However, upon arrival, “both deputies were shot at by the resident of that address.” Conroy identified the resident as Brooks. Wythe County Chief Deputy Keith Dunagan said Sunday night that the fronts of both of the deputies’ police vehicles were shot.

Brooks retreated inside the residence when a Wythe County deputy returned fire, said Conroy. He noted that the deputies later heard a single shot and entered the residence to find Brooks “was the victim of an apparent self inflicted gun shot wound.”

Brooks was airlifted to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. No condition report was available for him Monday, according to hospital spokesman Eric Earnhart.

As is standard practice, Wythe County Sheriff Doug King requested the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation conduct the probe since deputies were involved in the shooting incident.

Charges are pending Brooks’ hospital treatment and an evidence review by the Wythe County Commonwealth’s Attorney, said Conroy.

He said neither deputy was injured and Brooks “appears to have received only the one self inflicted.

It is commonly thought that domestic violence calls are the most dangerous situations for police officers. Asked whether this is the case, Conroy referred to an article in Police Chief Magazine which points out research has shown that to be a myth.

“While the fact remains that officers are seriously injured and killed responding to domestic violence calls, the bulk of research does not actually support this perspective,” states the May 2011 article by Shannon Meyer and Randall H. Carroll. “Rather, findings typically indicate that robberies and burglaries are the most dangerous calls for law enforcement officers and that these calls pose a far greater risk for assault and death than do domestic violence calls for service injury.”

Meyer is a victim specialist with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Carroll is a retired chief of police in Bellingham, Wash.

However, among domestic violence calls resulting in officer deaths, most were the result of ambush or unprovoked attacks on the officers.

“In fact, 51 percent of all lethal domestic violence incidents involved officers slain without any warning, before they had made contact with the domestic violence suspect and before officers perceived any immediate threat to their safety,” Meyer and Carroll say in the report.

It goes on to report that “13 percent of ambushes occurred immediately upon arrival; these officers were slain either before having the chance to exit or directly upon exiting their vehicles (but before having a chance to approach the scene or identify the suspect).”

 

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