LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg has seen four police-involved shootings in the last two years.
On Tuesday, the department held a press conference to update the public on 3 officer-involved shootings and where their internal investigations stand.
The Commonwealth’s Attorneys in Lynchburg, Campbell County and Virginia Beach say Lynchburg police officers acted within the law during all three shootings.
In November 2017, an officer shot and killed a suicidal woman going through a psychotic episode near Triangle Place. The woman lunged at police officers with a knife after they repeatedly told her to put it down.
Then, in December 2018, an officer fired his gun at a man who was allegedly a violent trespasser on Norwood Street. Police said the alleged trespasser waved his gun at the officer. The officer fired a shot but did not hit the man.
A shooting that’s helped the department make changes was a shootout with Tony Kidd in October 2018.
Investigators said Kidd was wanted in Campbell County for shooting and killing a woman and hurting her husband.
He was sentenced to life in prison last year.
Police released dashcam and body camera video of the chase and gun fight.
One of the officers was shot in the neck area. In the video, one officer is seen changing weapons for a shotgun. Police Chief Ryan Zuidema said at the time, not all patrol officers had rifles. Shortly after the incident, Zuidema went to city council asking for money to better equip police officers on the streets.
“It just could have easily been a detective who’s out working a case that afternoon and had stumble across this person. And we want the detective to have the same protection. So right now, we have enough rifles assigned to all of our uniform patrol officers folks and we’re working on having enough rifles to assign to everybody,” Zuidema said.
Though the department has finished its internal investigations, it continues to give the officers involved mental support if needed.
Investigators said officers involved in the Triangle Place shooting sought counseling afterward.
Zudiema said he’s proud of his three officers who had less than a year of experience. He said the situation was physically and emotionally challenging for them and their families.
“We’re trying to wrap as many services around these folks. Absolutely, this incident and some of these other officer-involved shootings have certainly made us reevaluate, ‘Are we doing enough, and what other things can or should we doing?’ And we’ve looked at other agencies that deal with this more frequently than we do,” Zuidema said.
Below you can watch released videos of the police chase and shoot out with Tony Kidd.