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Mother of man killed by Roanoke police in 2019 demands release of video

State police claim Chase Austin pointed a gun at an officer before he was killed

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ROANOKE, Va. – A woman whose son was killed by a Roanoke city police officer in 2019 wants the video evidence of her son’s last moments to be released to the public.

Lori Hall’s son, Chase Austin, was killed in October 2019 after an officer-involved shooting in Roanoke near the Krispy Kreme on Hershberger Road NW.

Austin was killed after he became confrontational and pointed a semi-automatic pistol at a Roanoke city police officer during their conversation, according to Virginia State Police.

Hall and her attorneys filed a petition in Roanoke County circuit court on Wednesday seeking to access records related to the investigation.

Hall claims she was allowed to view surveillance footage of the incident one time. She claims her lawyer wasn’t present when she saw the video, but that the “footage contradicts the Roanoke Commonwealth’s Attorney’s conclusion that the shooting of Chase was justified.

Hall claims there are several discrepancies between Roanoke City Commonwealth’s Attorney Donald Caldwell’s “retelling” of the details of the shooting and Hall’s understanding of the details based on “news reports and her viewing of surveillance footage.”

Arguably the biggest discrepancy is that Hall claims her son engaged in a “peaceful conversation” with a Roanoke city police officer and didn’t point a gun at an officer or officers.

The security camera footage was apparently collected by nearby private businesses. Hall and her attorneys claim she has spent the last several months trying to get information about her son’s death from the Roanoke City Police Department and the Virginia State Police without luck.

Hall claims that “among other things,” authorities are refusing to release the video footage.

Back in February, Roanoke City Commonwealth’s Attorney Donald Caldwell announced his findings regarding the shooting. Caldwell said, in part:

“Based upon the facts available to me at this time, I am of the opinion that Mr. Austin’s actions placed Officer Martinez in a position where he reasonably believed that he and others were in immediate, imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. Whatever his motivation, Mr. Austin introduced the element of deadly force into what was otherwise a relatively benign situation. By pulling a gun on Officer Martinez and then fleeing while armed towards a populated area in broad daylight, Mr. Austin effectively expanded the scope of the threat to the public at large. Officer Martinez has an obligation to protect the general public from threats such as the one presented by Mr. Austin. Therefore, I am of the opinion that, under the law of Virginia, Officer Martinez was legally justified in the use of deadly force to protect his own life as well as the lives of others in this situation. Thus, criminal charges are not appropriate under these circumstances, and none will be pursued.” -- Roanoke City Commonwealth’s Attorney Donald Caldwell

This is a story 10 News has covered extensively since the beginning:

October 16, 2019: Authorities investigating officer-involved shooting that left one hurt in northwest Roanoke

October 17, 2019: Man dead after police say he pointed semi-automatic pistol at officer in Krispy Kreme

October 18, 2019: New details in officer-involved shooting; mother, father of Chase Austin speak out

October 18, 2019: ‘If my son was still in jail this might not have happened,’ dad says about son killed by police

February 5, 2020: Deadly officer-involved shooting near Roanoke Krispy Kreme deemed justified


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