Martinsville Police Involved in Shooting

April 29, 2010

MARTINSVILLE, Va. - City of Martinsville Police Department officers received a call for a man that pulled a knife on a clerk at Kroger's on Commonwealth Boulevard on April 29, 2010. Upon arrival, officers encountered the same subject in the parking lot. The suspect attempted to stab an officer who was in his patrol car, causing stab marks on the officer's driver window. The suspect was Tasered, with the Taser having no effect on the suspect.

The suspect got in his car and closed the door. An officer broke the window on the suspect's vehicle and Tasered the suspect again with no effect this time either. The suspect then started his car in motion and fled the scene after backing over a shopping cart and brushing the officer's leg with his vehicle.

A pursuit followed into Henry County lasting approximately two miles. The suspect lost control of his vehicle at Sportlanes, crashing into a fence. Officers blocked the suspect in with their vehicles and ordered him to stay in the car. However, the suspect got out anyway and fled on foot behind Sportlanes. Officers gave chase, and the suspect pulled a knife on officers. The Taser was used twice again, with no effect on the suspect. He then drew back the knife and advanced at Officer Anita Sowers a very short distance away. Fearing for their lives, the suspect was shot with a firearm by a Martinsville Police Department officer.

Law enforcement officers and the Martinsville City Manager, who is a certified paramedic and happened to be in the area, immediately summoned an ambulance and provided emergency first aid. The suspect was transported by Stone Ambulance to Memorial Hospital Emergency Room, where he was pronounced dead. The victim's identity is being withheld at this time pending notification of the family. Members of the Henry County Sheriff's Office and the Virginia State Police responded to the incident and provided assistance.

City Manager, Clarence Monday, stated "at this point and time I have every reason to believe the officers acted in an appropriate and professional manner and the investigation has been turned over to the Virginia State Police, who we feel will conduct a very thorough and impartial investigation. This is a very tragic incident and our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim."

Authorities ask that any witnesses at Kroger's, Sportlanes, or of the pursuit to contact the Virginia State Police.

Victim's Identity Released
The name of the man shot by police has been identified as Donald Barry Minter, age 61, a resident of Martinsville City.