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Victim may have wanted police to shoot him

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@www.southwesttimes.com

A military veteran involved in a shooting with Pulaski Police Tuesday morning apparently suffered from depression and may have wanted police to shoot him, according to a prepared statement from Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche.

Roche said family members of the victim, 46-year-old Robert A. Frost, told Pulaski Police Capt. Anthony Meredith that they were not surprised by Tuesday morning’s events because Frost had been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and depression since returning from service in Operation Desert Storm.

Frost “had also said that when he ‘went,’ he would make the police kill him,” said the prepared statement from Roche. “It is a tragedy that some citizens returning from service to their country are haunted by personal demons that may contribute to incident such as this one,” Roche added.

According to Roche, Pulaski Police Officer A.M. Abdelaziz stopped at Pulaski Storage on Bob White Boulevard around 12:55 a.m. Tuesday when he noticed a Ford pickup truck sitting between the rows of storage buildings. Thinking the truck was empty due to tinting on the back window, Abdelaziz approached the truck.

The officer instead found Frost sitting in the driver’s seat, asleep, and holding a handgun in his lap. Roche said Abdelaziz backed up and called for assistance from other officers, then stepped back up to the driver’s side window, which was open. At that point, Frost awakened “and instantly raised the firearm and began shooting,” the chief said.

He added, “Officer Abdelaziz retreated to the rear of the vehicle where he discharged three shots in an attempt to stop the attack. Mr. Frost then opened the truck door and fell onto the ground.”

Police immediately initiated first aid while an ambulance was en route. Frost was transported to LewisGale Hospital-Pulaski, where he later died. Abdelaziz was not injured.

Frost’s body has been transported to the Roanoke Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy. Police have not said whether the fatal shot was self inflicted or fired by the officer.

As is standard practice, Abdelaziz is on administrative leave pending autopsy results, and Virginia State Police is conducting the investigation. The results of the investigation will be turned over to the Commonwealth’s Attorney for review and determination whether to prosecute.

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