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UPDATE: Purcellville teen dead in police shooting; investigation ongoing

A 17-year-old boy was shot and killed Saturday by police fire.

The teen, who has not yet been identified, was shot by a Purcellville Police officer when he lunged at the officer with a knife, according to Virginia State Police, the agency investigating the incident.

According to reports, Purcellville Police received a 911 call about 2:12 p.m. from someone at a home in the 100 block of Frazer Drive who was seeking help for a 17-year-old threatening suicide.

Once the officer was on scene and approached the teen, the teen, armed with a knife, lunged at the officer and was subsequently shot, according to reports.

Rescue was immediately called and the teen was taken to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead.

The Purcellville officer was not injured in the incident.

“To ensure our citizens a thorough and independent review of this incident, I have asked the Virginia State Police to conduct the investigation. My department is fully cooperating with the state police,” said Purcellville Police Chief Darryl Smith in a prepared statement. “In accordance with department policy, the officer involved in this shooting has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.”

The teenager’s remains have been taken to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Manassas for examination and autopsy.

The Virginia State Police’s “Police-Shooting Investigative Team” from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Fairfax Field Office is conducting the investigation into the incident. Once the investigation is complete, the investigative report will be turned over to the Commonwealth’s Attorney for review and final adjudication.

This is an ongoing story. More information will be released as it becomes available.


Trying to understand why some readers think an investigation by definition will clear this up. 

I would like to see a couple disinterested parties involved in the investigation of what happened and who did what in what sequence. 

Absolute confidence in the outcome will flow from transparency.

Horrible situation for the family and the officer. Its shocking when it hits your community, but that is the world we live in, today.

The government has shifted the risk of being a police officer to us citizens.  You might say we’re well on the way to a first-responder police state.

Concrete barriers around everything, a simple fender-bender draws three police cruisers, and on and on. 

We should not be satisfied with a society that allows police to just shoot people and then have administrators sort everything out after the fact.

@spark, it is reasonable to assume the police responded the way they did at the Costco shooting. Why are you trying to prettying it up? Read the report. My opinion is there was not enough respect for the life of a person in emotional distress in the Costco incident and worry that the same is true again in this case.

@fedupdude, you are incorrect that the taser didn’t work because of the name tag. Or, the Commonwealth’s Report that she was hit by the taser from behind and one barb was in her shoulder and the other in her buttocks was all part of a coverup.

@EdMyers - were you there ?  Because you are taking a lot for granted, when you say “Before the police show up the teenager is a threat only to himself. It is police actions that convert the situation from a teenager in danger to a police officer claiming to be in danger.”.....Maybe the teen lunged at him the first second he saw the officer - Maybe there wasn’t time for quote “patience and empathy”, as you put it.  Then you go on to say ” holding a gun and advancing on the teenager’s position.”  How do you know the officer didn’t draw on him at the last possible second ?  YOU DON’T !  The word troll comes to mind.

That Guy

Taser didn’t work on the lady from Costco…


That is because it hit her name tag and did not make proper contact.

Chab B is pretending to know what a teenager in distress is thinking.  More likely than premeditated “death by Cop” the teenager was simply trying to defend himself from attack by the demons in his mind made even scarier by some aggressive stranger yelling stuff, holding a gun and advancing on the teenager’s position.

When police officers arrive on scene of a call for domestic disturbance or mental health/suicide they don’t know what a person is thinking or if they are on some sort of drugs. Shooting some one in a limb that is on something or had enough adrenaline running through them does not always stop them, plus hitting a moving limb which is a lot smaller I can imagine is a lot harder to hit. For anyone saying that “it was only a knife” should look at this article from a police officer attacked by a knife. http://www.azbasszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=49021 (graphic)
The investigation has not been completed and until so no one can judge the officers decision. I doubt the officer went into work and said I want to shot a 17 year old today, they have to live with this the rest is their life and even more so being a small town. People don’t forget this sort of thing like in a big city where the officer isn’t known as much by the community. Put your self in their shoes, an unstable person with a knife is lunging towards you or another person. He’s already hurt him self which means he probably won’t have a issues hurting someone else. I know not everyone will agree and in not trying to bash anyone’s opinion, just giving my two cents and providing some point of views from an officers stand point.

Suicide by cop, its sad this happened I am sure the cop did not want to shoot this kid. I have to ask where were the tasers?

Before the police show up the teenager is a threat only to himself. It is police actions that convert the situation from a teenager in danger to a police officer claiming to be in danger. End result is a dead teenager. The family dialed 911 for help in saving their son and police escalation killed him. We need to take those officer’s guns away if they insist on using lethal force as a substitute for patience and empathy.

Couldn’t have said it better, Nativeloudouner.  This is a very horrible tragedy, in which all of us here, know very little about.  Let’s let the investigation run its’ course.

I love how all the Monday morning quarterbacks come out and start spewing their advanced knowledge of self-defense and police equipment. Let me share some real knowledge….. a Taser’s probes have to spread far apart to be effective. That means the person has to be some distance away generally 15-21 feet. If they embed too close together you get little or no effect. Pepper spray doesn’t work on everybody, especially those on controlled substances or with a heightened adrenalin level. Nightsticks and ASP batons have never been really effective and that is why they are rarely used for anything more than breaking windows.
The officer met the assailant with the same amount of force he was met with, deadly. And before you all start saying that the officer could easily survive being stabbed, your wrong. A single stab wound to the thigh, neck, or bicep could leave the officer dead within three minutes if an artery is severed.  Getting stabbed is not what officers get paid for…..before I hear that line. If so you better get ready for a raise in taxes because if that is what you expect from your officers you better raise their salary.

The officer did what he had to do to protect himself and ultimately others. What if the officer had tried to use some other method and it failed and the assailant pushed by him and ended up out in a public place, attacked someone else…..maybe one of your family members. Would you still be saying that the officer should not have used deadly force against him???? The young man committed to an act that he knew would result in him possibly being killed or injured. He chose the act and knew the consequences.  Lastly, ultimately if the officer had done nothing and was killed would you really have just shrugged it off and said ” well that what they get paid for” or would you have stood along the street and mourned as his family and his remains proceeded through your town. While not the PC thing to do I bet most, if not all, would line the street and maybe even shed a tear. That is the real world, not the world of sitting around with your friends drinking a glass of wine, having a polite PC conversation, slamming the actions of person in a situation you could never fathom, appreciate, or imagine yourself being in.

For all of you that think this job is so easy and the decisions are so clear cut and easily made….there are positions available with your local law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement agencies are always looking for people that can predict the future, know the mindset and intent of every suspect, and know how every situation should be handled.

Taser didn’t work on the lady from Costco…

Interesting opinions here from people I bet have never faced a threat from a gun or knife one second in their lives.  I will reserve judgement until I hear the facts from the professionals.  All I know there is no job his worth being pinata for a person lunging at one with a knife.  One forgets that officers are humans too with families and children and futures.

Don’t go after the officer. Nobody knows what actually happened yet and you people are way too quick to judge. All we know is what the press is reporting and that is that the boy lunged at the officer with a knife. If this is true you also cannot judge what ones actions would be in reaponse to being lunged at with a knife. The attack could happen in a flash of an eye and at the point your brain shuts down and muscle memory kicks in when your life is in danger. Reading these comments I assume that you’ve all been lunged at by somebody trying to stab you. Please inform us of the proper way to handle that….. I feel horrible for the kid that was shot, his family and also the officer involved.

Sounds like suicide by cop to me. Sad for all involved. I’m heartened to hear that Chief Smith is turning the investigation over to the State Police, and will give the police officer the benefit of the doubt pending the investigation’s conclusion.

Are Purcellville Police officers not issued stun guns?

Police departments need to teach their trainees that violence is not the best answer, period. The whole point of police officers is to keep the people safe, and to risk their own being to better the public, it doesn’t matter who it is. The consequence for this situation does not fit. An innocent life was lost, instead of getting the help that was needed. The officer needs to understand what he did and truly pay for it. And the system needs to understand how to help people more effectively instead of resulting to immediate violence.

This is so very wrong! Don’t they carry mace? Tasers? Nice way to help a family in need. Purcellville PD you deserve all the furry your going to get today. Get some training.

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