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Police identify Florida man who died after officer-involved shooting in Botetourt County

The Virginia State Police said the suspect in two officer-involved shootings in Botetourt County died on Friday.
The Virginia State Police said the suspect in two officer-involved shootings in Botetourt County died on Friday. (WSLS)

BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va.LATEST

The Virginia State Police identified the man who died after his involvement in an officer-involved shooting in Botetourt County on Friday.

Robert Sword, 46, of Orlando, Fla., died after allegedly shooting at Botetourt County deputies, running away and then encountering deputies again where he was fatally shot.

They performed EMS treatment at the scene but Sword died from his injuries, according to state police.

UPDATE

The Virginia State Police said the suspect in two officer-involved shootings in Botetourt County died on Friday.

Just after 10 a.m., the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call about a suspicious vehicle in the 2800 block of North Creek Road in Buchanan, according to state police.

When the deputy arrived, he found an abandoned vehicle in a ditch on the side of North Creek Road as well as a campsite set up nearby, according to state police.

Just beyond the campsite, the deputy saw a man and tried to speak with him. State police say the man displayed a gun and started shooting at the deputy, who shot back.

The man ran away into the woods and the deputy wasn’t hurt, according to state police.

The Sheriff’s Office started a search and eventually found the man again. During the second confrontation, state police say a deputy shot the suspect.

They performed EMS treatment at the scene but the suspect died from his injuries, according to state police.

The suspect’s body was taken to the medical examiner’s office in Roanoke for an autopsy and identification.

The state police investigation is ongoing.

ORIGINAL STORY

A person was hospitalized after reportedly shooting at Botetourt County sheriff’s deputies on Friday.

Just after 10 a.m., the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from dispatchers about a “suspicious person” in the woods near Apple Orchard Falls in the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest.

Botetourt County Sheriff Matthew Ward did not know why the person was reported as suspicious, but when deputies arrived the man appeared to be “sick".

Because of that, and because the first-arriving deputy found and empty gun holster, the deputy kept his distance from the suspect.

“That may have helped in that situation, maintaining distance, especially with gunfire,” Ward said.

When a backup deputy arrived is when the suspect opened fire according to Ward.

Whether the suspect was hit when deputies returned fire was unclear.

“There is injury to the suspect and we have EMS attending to that individual,” Ward told members of the media gathered at the law enforcement staging area.

Also found at the scene, according to Ward, was a car in a ditch and what he described as a pull cart, which was found in the road.

“(The cart is) similar to the beach carts that you would pull at the beach full of household items,” Ward explained.

What, if any, connection the car and the cart have to the shooting was unclear Friday afternoon.

The U.S. Marshal Service, Virginia State Police, Botetourt County sheriff’s deputies, Botetourt County Fire & Rescue members, K9s and drones were used to search for the suspect after the gunfire.

“We absolutely appreciate everybody,” Ward said. “That’s inter-agency cooperation that we’re appreciative of. You’ve got a remote, challenging area that we’ve been traversing."

Friday afternoon, the suspect had not been identified or charged and Ward would not speculate on what charges they could face.

The deputy who shot at the suspect has been placed on administrative leave per department policy.

Virginia State Police is investigating the shooting.


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