LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Search Warrants reveal new information about the deadly stabbing on Boonsboro Road last Friday. The incident led an officer to shoot the suspect.
According to court documents obtained by WFXR News, a neighbor witnessed the incident take place, from the suspect allegedly breaking into the victim’s apartment to him allegedly stabbing her to death.
The warrant also reflects that the victim at one point ran to the neighbor’s home for help, after being stabbed, but her attacker caught up with her and began stabbing her again.
The suspect Tony Brown was eventually shot by police, which marks the sixth officer-involved shooting in Lynchburg in less than two years.
The Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney, Bethany Harrison, says every case is different and there are a lot of aspects to consider when looking into these incidents. However, she says if the individual is considered a serious danger– like in the case last Friday– use of force by a police officer is likely.
“If someone’s wielding a deadly weapon, which we’ve had in all our officer-involved shootings here in the City of Lynchburg, someone’s wielding a deadly weapon, not following commands, whether it’s one officer or multiple officers, generally the officer’s going to be justified in using deadly force toward that person,” said Harrison.
Harrison says she believes the cultural climate of the last few years, along with an increase in mental health concerns in the country, could be playing a role in the increase in officers using force.
“I think are seeing a combination of those talking points of this cultivation of a culture of disrespect for authority figures or outright going after authority figures as well as mental health,” said Harrison.
Former police officer, Dr. Tod Burke, adds that this is a growing concern not just in the city of Lynchburg.
“This is not limited to Lynchburg and also this is a multi-faceted problem so there’s not going to be one cause or one solution,” said Dr. Burke.
He says this is not just a police issue or just a community issue, both groups need to be held accountable.
“Police need to examine or re-examine current policies dealing with officer-involved shootings,” said Dr. Burke.
Adding, however, that sometimes officers have to use force to reduce danger.
“Shooting is a last resort, not the first, the offender or offenders often take away that choice from a police officer in a split second,” said Dr. Burke.
Dr. Burke believes looking at other communities that have successfully reduced officer-involved shootings is a good way to learn what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to handling this growing concern. He says it’s important to note that whatever the solution may be it’s going to take time and won’t happen overnight.