Roanoke City Police officer found justified in office-involved fatal shooting

By  | 

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) UPDATE: February 2, 2013
The Commonwealth's Attorney finished investigating a Roanoke City Police officer involved shooting that occurred last November, resulting in the death of Victor D. Bray.

Attorney Don Caldwell presented findings that include body camera footage, autopsy information, and witness interviews. Caldwell found that under the law of Virginia, Officer R.A. Howell was legally justified in the use of deadly force to protect his own life as well as others.

Officer Howell is back on active duty after serving administrative duty during the investigation.
The Roanoke man killed in an officer-involved shooting Wednesday night has been identified as 31-year-old Victor D. Bray.

Virginia State Police confirmed the Bray's identity just before 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

According to authorities, the shooting happened in the 2600 block of Fairfield Drive Northeast in Roanoke at 10:08 p.m.

A police officer was in the area on another call, when he noticed a man and a woman arguing on the front porch, according to Roanoke City Police Spokesman Scott Leamon.

Police say the officer noticed Bray had a gun and ordered him to drop the weapon.

"When the female began walking away the male pointed the gun at the female," a Virginia State Police press release stated.

"Despite the Roanoke officer's repeated commands to drop the weapon, the male subject shot at the female. The Roanoke officer subsequently shot the male subject."

The 30-year-old woman involved was not shot and the officer was not injured.

Bray died at the scene. The Office of the Medical Examiner in Roanoke will perform Bray's autopsy.

A close family friend of Bray explained family and friends are still trying to process what happened and declined a request for comment.

A neighbor who only wanted to be identified by her first name of Ashley, recounts hearing the commotion Wednesday night.

"I heard what sounded like rapid fire, gunshots, almost 10-13 of them," she said, describing the gunshots as several popping noises.

"I don't know what caused everything but I'm sorry to hear it happened," Ashley said.

Down the street, another neighbor said he was at home at the time of the shooting but did not hear anything unusual.

"I cannot believe I didn't hear anything," he said. "I hear everything that happens on this street."

An officer-involved shooting death is not common in Roanoke, according to statistics provided by the police department.

Before the incident Wednesday night, only three officer-involved shootings happened within the past three years, all of which occurred in 2015.

Two out of the three shootings (April 25, 2015 and August 15, 2015) involved officers firing but not hitting the suspects. Only on July 19, 2015, the suspect was hit with a bullet but not killed.

The Roanoke City Police Chief has turned the investigation looking into the November 9 officer-involved shooting over to the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Salem Field Office.

In the meantime, the officer who has not been identified has been placed on administrative assignment.

According to State Police Public Relations Director Corrine Geller, the investigation is ongoing.

Once the investigation is complete, the findings will be turned over to the Commonwealth’s Attorney.