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S.C. man charged in Va. officer’s death

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

BIG STONE GAP — Authorities Monday filed a 13-count indictment against a South Carolina man suspected of fatally shooting a Big Stone Gap police officer Nov. 13.

Michael D. White, 33, of Cross, S.C., is accused of shooting Officer Michael D. Chandler, who turned 29 years old the day of his death.

According to Virginia State Police, the indictment returned Monday charges White with felony counts of aggravated murder of a police officer, second-degree murder, shooting in the commission of murder, use of a firearm in the commission aggravated murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, reckless handling of a firearm with serious injury, discharging a firearm in a public place, possession of a Schedule I/II controlled substance with the intent to distribute, possession of a firearm while in possession of a Schedule I/II controlled substance, shooting in commission of possession of a Schedule I/II controlled substance, and misdemeanor counts of brandishing a firearm and disorderly conduct.

White is being held without bond at Southwest Virginia Regional Jail.

Chandler was shot while conducting a welfare check on a female. Police say a 911 caller requested to meet with an officer, so Chandler met with the caller on 8th St. before proceeding to a vacant residence in the 2500 block of Orr Street.

Upon arrival, Chandler encountered White, who subsequently shot the officer. A Wise County deputy arriving on the scene found Chandler unconscious in a ditch. White had fled the scene.

Police say Chandler died from his injuries later that night at a Johnson City, Tenn., hospital, where he had been airlifted.

Kingsport, Tenn., police arrested White without incident at a motel around 8 p.m. that night.

Wytheville Field Office of Virginia State Bureau of Criminal Investigations continues to investigate new leads and tips in the case. Anyone with information related to the incident is urged to contact authorities at 276-228-3131 or questions@vsp.virginia.gov.

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