By MELINDA WILLIAMS
PEARISBURG – Virginia State Police are investigating the fatal shooting of a Ripplemead man Sunday by a Pearisburg police officer.
According to Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller, Pearisburg Police Chief J.C. Martin has requested the State Police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Police Shooting Investigative Team out of the Wytheville Field Office to look the shooting death of Thomas N. Saunders, 47. Such investigations are standard in police-involved shootings.
Geller said the incident occurred when a Pearisburg police officer stopped a vehicle in the town limits around 3 p.m. Sunday. “During the course of the traffic stop, the suspect driver exited his vehicle and pointed a firearm at the officer” and the suspect was shot, she said.
Saunders was transported to a nearby hospital, where he died a short time later, according to Geller. Saunders’ body has been sent to the medical examiner’s office in Roanoke for an autopsy.
Geller said an investigation into the incident is continuing. Once the probe is completed, a report will be turned over to the commonwealth’s attorney for review and final adjudication,” she added.