Commonwealth’s Attorney: Officers involved in shooting that left Norton police chief hospitalized will not be charged

Virginia News

NORTON, Va. (WJHL) – No officers will be charged in the May 7 shooting that left Norton Police Chief James Lane and suspect James Buckland wounded and hospitalized, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp.

A release from Slemp’s office states that an independent review of the shooting has been completed.

Slemp writes that the officers who discharged their weapons during the shooting will not face criminal charges.

The release states a “careful analysis and detailed review” of the shooting was conducted by the commonwealth’s attorney’s office using the Virginia State Police Investigation File.

“To be clear, I have concluded that the officers involved in the shooting, namely Chief James
Lane and Sgt. Jason McConnell, were justified in their actions,” Slemp wrote. “They acted in an appropriate manner in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Slemp wrote that the actions of Buckland, who is back in Virginia and awaiting arraignment as of Tuesday, were not justified and constitute multiple criminal charges.

The analysis attached to the release states that the officers were justified under Virginia law since they were threatened “with death or serious bodily harm” and due to the injuries Lane suffered.

Slemp also recommended that both McConnell and Lane return to duty once they are able.

Lane was discharged from the hospital on Friday, May 14.

“The Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Wise County and the City of Norton shall
immediately conclude its investigation into this matter and recommend that both officers return
to duty as soon as they are medically able to do so,” Slemp wrote.

Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, the facts included in the file and release have been redacted. However, an analysis of the Commonwealth’s Self-Defense and Use of Lethal Force by Officers laws were included.

“Chief James Lane and Sgt. Jason McConnell acted properly and in accord with the laws of
Virginia,” the conclusion of Slemp’s analysis states.

You can read the entire analysis and release provided to our sister-station WJHL below:

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