Bristol, Va. police officer charged with murder in fatal March 30 shooting

Virginia News

BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – A Bristol, Virginia police officer has been charged with murder in relation to an officer-involved shooting that occurred on March 30.

According to a release from Bristol City Manager and Attorney Randall Eads and Mayor Bill Hartley, a grand jury returned an indictment against Officer Jonathan Brown, “alleging several crimes.”

Court documents state Brown has been indicted of charges of murder, use of a firearm in the commission of murder and malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle.

Brown’s bond was set at $25,000, according to court documents.

Brown’s charges stem from the shooting death of Jonathen B. Kohler, which occurred near a motel at the intersection of Euclid Avenue and Gate City Highway.

Virginia State Police previously reported that Kohler, 31, of Bristol, Tennessee, was fatally shot after he refused to exit his vehicle in the parking lot of the motel and drove towards an officer, now identified as Brown.

The release states that an internal affairs investigation is underway.

“This investigation was not conducted contemporaneously with the criminal investigation due to procedural issues that could have hampered the criminal investigation,” the release states.

The investigation is expected to be completed within 10 days.

According to Virginia State Police, a grand jury handed up the indictments Monday. Brown, who lives in Piney Flats, turned himself into state police special agents Tuesday morning.

Documents filed in the Circuit Court of the City of Bristol state that Donald Caldwell, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Roanoke, and members of his office are acting as special prosecutors in the investigation.

Brown had been suspended with pay following the shooting, which officials say is protocol. As of Tuesday, Brown was suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation, according to the release.

“We do not condone, nor will we tolerate the unnecessary use of force by our police officers,” the release reads. “There is a time and place for the use of force, and force must be used sparingly and within the bounds of the law.”

Eads and Hartley stated in the release they would not make any further comment at this time.

Our sister-station WJHL reached out to the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Donald Caldwell, who said:

“I will not be making any statements to the press as this is a pending case before the Circuit Court for the City of Bristol.”

DONALD CALDWELL
COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY

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