Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

May 20, 2014

Police ID Ripplemead, Va., man who was shot, killed

PEARISBURG, Va. — Investigators with the Virginia State Police say a Pearisburg, Va., police officer fatally shot a Ripplemead, Va., man after the suspect pointed a firearm at the officer during a traffic stop.

Thomas N. Saunders, 47, was subsequently shot by the officer and died a short time later at a regional hospital, according to Corinne Geller, public relations director for the Virginia State Police said Monday.

The unidentified police officer initiated the traffic stop Sunday at 3 p.m. in the town limits of Pearisburg, Va., in Giles County. Geller said during the course of the traffic stop, Saunders exited his vehicle and pointed a firearm at the officer. The officer then subsequently shot him.

Geller said rescue crews were immediately called to the scene. Saunders was transported to a nearby hospital where he died a short time later. Gellar said the man’s body has been sent to the office of the state medical examiner in Roanoke, Va., for an examination and autopsy.

At the request of the Pearisburg police chief, the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Police Shooting Investigative Team out of the Wytheville field office responded to the scene to investigate the shooting.

Gellar said the incident remains under investigation.

Once the state police has completed its investigation, Geller said a report will be turned over to the Common-wealth’s Attorney for review and final adjudication.

 — Contact Charles Owens at

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