Deputy shooting of Halifax County suspect justified, commonwealth's attorney says

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HALIFAX CO., Va. (WDBJ7) A Halifax County deputy was justified when he shot a suspect in April, according to the Appomattox County Commonwealth’s Attorney.

The deputy shot Malik Cobbs on April 24 outside of the VFW Hall on Route 501 in Halifax County.

Before the deputy shot Cobbs, investigators say Cobbs shot five people inside the VFW Hall.

Sgt. S.M. Bowen saw Cobbs firing as he was leaving the building. When Bowen approached him, Cobbs refused to comply with his demands, investigators say. Bowen then shot Cobbs.

Cobbs, 19, of Danville, was flown to the hospital with a non-life threatening injury. He was later arrested and charged with one felony count of shooting into an occupied building.

He is being held at the Halifax County Adult Detention Center.

The five people who were shot suffered serious, but not life-threatening injuries.

Appomattox County Commonwealth’s Attorney reviewed the case at the request of Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Quackenbush Martin.

Here is the news release from Halifax County:

Halifax County Sheriff Fred S. Clark was notified Monday (June 21) by the Virginia State Police that the actions of his deputy in response to an April 24, 2016, shooting in the Town of Halifax were justified. The determination was made Monday by Appomattox County Commonwealth’s Attorney Darrel W. Puckett, who reviewed the case at the request of Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Quackenbush Martin.

“I greatly appreciate the efforts put forth by the Virginia State Police and Commonwealths Attorneys to thoroughly investigate and review both of these shootings,” Sheriff Clark said. “The facts of what happened that morning clearly show that Sgt. Bowen’s quick response and actions prevented more from being injured or even killed during what was a very chaotic and frightening scene for those at the parties.”

Shortly before 2 a.m., April 24, the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office responded to a parking complaint called in by a security officer at the VFW Hall on Route 501, where dual birthday celebrations were being held. After arriving on scene to address the parking issue, Halifax County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. S.M. Bowen heard what sounded like an argument growing into an altercation taking place inside the building. Bowen stepped in to address the issue and then walked back outside. Seconds later he heard a burst of gunfire and saw people fleeing the building. The shooting suspect, Malik R. Cobbs, 19, of Danville, Va., also exited the building still firing and Bowen immediately confronted the subject. Cobbs refused to comply with Bowen’s commands to drop the weapon and Cobbs was subsequently shot by the Sergeant.

Five people inside the building were injured in the initial shooting and transported to various hospitals for treatment of serious, but non-life threatening injuries.

Cobbs, 19, of Danville, Va., was flown to Duke Health for treatment of a non-life threatening injury. He was then arrested and charged with one felony count of shooting into an occupied building. Cobbs is still being held at the Halifax County Adult Detention Center pending his next court appearance June 22, 2016. This investigation remains ongoing at this time.

At the request of Sheriff Clark, the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office investigated both the deputy-involved shooting and the continues to investigate the initial shooting by Cobbs.