04/17/2007

Va. officer shoots suspect in robbery

By Steve Stone
The Virginian-Pilot

NORFOLK, Va. — A plainclothes police officer who happened upon a robbery at a gas station late Sunday shot and critically wounded a man with whom he exchanged gunfire . The officer was not hurt.

Officer Chris Amos, a police spokesman, said today that the incident occurred just before 11 p.m. at the Shell station convenience store in the 7700 block of Granby St. in Wards Corner.

The officer, whose name was not immediately released, walked into the store unaware that anything was amiss. But, within moments, Amos said he spotted a gunman attempting to rob the store clerk.

The officer "verbally challenged" the gunman, but he did not heed orders to surrender. Instead, "the suspect began firing at the officer," Amos said, and "the officer returned fire."

It was not known how many shots were fired.

The gunman, whose name was not released, was taken to the trauma center at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital with life-threatening wounds. "The prognosis is not good," Amos said early this morning. "He probably won't make it."

The officer was being questioned by investigators as police began their inquiry into the shooting. He will be placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation, a routine procedure in officer-involved shootings.

Amos was unable to say whether the officer was on duty at the time of the incident . It was also unclear whether the gunman was acting alone or had accomplices.

"Thankfully, the convenience store wasn't too busy at the time," Amos said. It was unclear whether other customers were in the store or at the gas pumps.

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