COVINGTON, Va. (WFXR) — The Alleghany County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has made a conclusion regarding criminal charges following March’s shooting at a Covington gas station that left three people dead, including a police officer.
Virginia State Police previously reported that 42-year-old Toney S. Poulston Jr. of Covington entered a Covington Farm and Fuel along North Alleghany Avenue at approximately 4:30 p.m. on March 14. Poulston then got into a “domestic situation” with a relative working at the store — identified as 64-year-old Randall Lee Paxton of Covington — and ended up shooting him.
Then, when Covington and Alleghany County authorities responded to the incident at the gas station, they saw Poulston leaving the store with a pistol. Shots were fired, leading to the death of Poulston and Covington Police Officer Caleb Ogilvie, officials announced at the time.
Exactly four months later, on Thursday, July 14, the Alleghany County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office shared new details about the deadly incident.
According to officials, evidence shows that Poulston shot and killed his stepfather, Paxton, as well as Ogilvie, before Poulston “burst out the door” of the Covington Farm and Fuel; leveled a gun toward authorities and civilians in the parking lot; fired a shot in their direction; and was shot by six members of the Covington Police Department and the Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office who feared for the safety of themselves and the public, such as the 12-year-old girl who was taking cover next to two deputies in the parking lot after witnessing Poulston shoot Ogilvie.
You can read the full report about the shooting — which includes the timeline of the incident, the evidence gathered, and the legal analysis — below:
Based on the circumstances, Alleghany County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Gardner says Poulston’s death at the hands of by law enforcement was a justifiable homicide in defense of self or others. As a result, no criminal charges will be brought against any of the two Covington police officers or four Alleghany County deputies involved.
At the time officers fired, Poulston was under the influence of methamphetamine, homicidal, armed and attempting to escape, thereby, presenting an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm to anyone in his path. When faced with this very real danger, these six (6) law enforcement officers responded appropriately, according to their training, when they employed deadly force against Poulston in order to protect themselves and the citizens around them. Under the circumstances in this case, the law overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that these officers were entitled to use deadly force when they reasonably perceived an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to themselves or others. Criminal charges against these officers are not appropriate.Statement released on July 14, 2022 by Alleghany County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Gardner