'Everybody goes home': Bedford County Sheriff's Office peacefully solves standoff situation

Suspect fired shot before surrendering to deputies

BEDFORD, Va. – A tense, hostile situation ended peacefully Monday night, thanks to the work of the Bedford County Sheriff's Office.

"Every day we sign on the radio, our goal is to bring every situation to a successful conclusion," said Capt. Mike Miller at the Sheriff's Office. "They did that night."

Deputies responded to a house south of Bedford after receiving a 911 call claiming a man was on medications and threatening to shoot officers. Miller says that call set the tone for the rest of the night.

"When he says he's going to do harm to us, the risk does go up and different things go through your mind," Miller said.

What followed was two hours of negotiating with the suspect, identified as Ralph Saunders. At one point, Miller says Saunders fired a shotgun in the direction of the deputies.

"The most tense moment was when he fired the shot," Miller said. "Thank goodness he fired it into the ground."

However, deputies were able to calm Saunders down enough for him to surrender without using violent means. Miller says that's a testament to the training Bedford County's deputies have memorized.

"Our goal is, 'Everybody goes home,'" Miller said. "Even the person that we're dealing with, we make sure to get them the help they need. There's a lot of restraint there, and it's what these officers are trained for."

Saunders was hospitalized after the incident. The Sheriff's Office says criminal charges are pending against him.

About the Author: