A man is dead after an officer-involved shooting in Bedford County early Wednesday morning.
The incident began Tuesday night when the suspect allegedly broke into a Moneta home and held a woman at gunpoint while she was home alone showering. It ended after a deputy shot the suspect following a vehicle chase, according to the Bedford County Sheriff's Office. Investigators believe the suspect in the home invasion and vehicle chase are the same person.
Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, deputies say the man broke into the Stewartsville Road home and tried to steal her car. James Cochran lives at the home, but was at work at the time. His wife, Melissa Cochran, was home alone when the the suspect broke in through a basement door. Cochran said that they had never seen the suspect before.
James Cochran said the suspect dragged Melissa Cochran by her hair into the front yard while she was naked, and demanded her car. Cochran said his wife threw her keys into the woods, at which time the suspect put a gun in her face.
Around that time a truck drove down Stewartsville Road, which distracted the suspect, and Melissa Cochran ran inside and locked the door. The suspect tried unsuccessfully to hot wire a car in the driveway, and then left on a moped or dirt bike.
At around 8:50 p.m., deputies tried to stop a dirt bike near the intersection of Stewartsville Road and Harveys Creek Road. The suspect went off the road and evaded deputies.
Deputies continued looking for the vehicle. At 12:08 a.m. Wednesday, they spotted a car on Stewartsville Road driving recklessly. Deputies tried to stop the car, but the driver refused to stop.
The car eventually came to a stop on Oakwood Knolls after hitting the front of a deputy's car. Shots were fired, and the suspect was hit. The man was taken to Bedford Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The deputy involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by Virginia State Police.
Placing an officer on administrative leave following a shooting is protocol.
Investigators have not released the name of the deputy involved or the suspect.
Here's the press release from the Bedford County Sheriff's Office:
At 8:03 p.m. Tuesday night, July 29, 2014, Bedford County 911 dispatchers received a call from Stewartsville Road, Moneta. The caller reported that she was home alone and was in the shower, when a male broke into her home. He grabbed her and pulled her out of the shower while holding a hand gun to her head. He demanded she give him her car keys. When she did not, he tried hot wire her vehicle. When his efforts to start the car failed he left the victims home riding what she described as a moped and traveled west on Stewartsville Road.
At 8:50 p.m., Bedford County sheriff’s deputies observed a male on a dirt bike near the intersection of Stewartsville Road and Harveys Creek Road. Attempts to stop the bike failed due to it going off the road and through fields.
At 12:08 a.m. this morning while still in the area looking for the home invasion suspect, a deputy observed a vehicle traveling east on Stewartsville Road being operated in a reckless manner. The vehicle turned left onto Moneta Road and headed north towards Bedford. When the deputy attempted to stop the vehicle it continued to travel north on Moneta Road. The deputy pursued the vehicle and it turned left onto Oakwood Knolls, which is a dead end road. As the vehicle approached the end of Oakwood Knoll, it struck the front on the deputy’s vehicle. When the vehicle came to a stop, the driver exited the vehicle and shots were fired. The suspect was transported to Bedford Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The Virginia State Police was notified and responded to the scene. They are investigating the officer involved shooting, the pursuit and stolen vehicle. At this time, the suspect in the home invasion and vehicle pursuit are believed to be same.
The deputy involved in the shooting was been placed on administrative leave pending the completion of the state police investigation.