Son of retired Buena Vista assistant police chief charged with murdering his father, setting house fire

Virginia State Police announced Monday afternoon that they’ve charged the son of a retired Buena Vista Assistant Chief of Police with murdering his father.

BUENA VISTA, Va.UPDATE (2/15/2022 at 1:50 p.m.)

Virginia State Police announced Monday afternoon that they’ve charged the son of a retired Buena Vista Assistant Chief of Police with murdering his father.

Authorities arrested 35-year-old Jonathan Patterson on one felony count of murder and one felony count of arson in connection with the death of his father, Phillip “Jay” Patterson.

Mugshot of Jonathan Patterson on February 11, 2022. (Rockbridge Regional Jail)

Earlier on Monday, 10 News reported that Patterson’s cause of death was sharp force injury to the head, neck and chest, according to Medical Examiner’s Office.

Police added that the elder Patterson was dead before the fire was set.

Jonathan was identified early as a suspect in connection with the fire and his father’s death and was arrested at 10:40 a.m. Friday, about an hour after authorities responded to the fire.


UPDATE (2/15/2022 at 11:59 a.m.)

Authorities have released the cause and manner of death of the man, identified as a retired Buena Vista Assistant Chief of Police, who was found dead inside of a home after a reported house fire on Friday.

The cause of death for the victim, Phillip “Jay” Patterson, was sharp force injury to the head, neck and chest, according to Medical Examiner’s Office.

Authorities are now investigating Patterson’s death as a homicide.


UPDATE (2/11/2022 at 11:19 a.m.)

The Buena Vista Police Department says the man found dead inside of a home after a reported house fire on Friday was one of their own.

This comes after the Buena Vista Police Department was sent to a home at 13th Street and Cherry Avenue for a welfare check.

Once the fire was extinguished and they were able to enter the home, police found a dead body inside.

The body has been identified as retired Buena Vista Assistant Chief of Police, Phillip “Jay” Patterson.

Law enforcement is heartbroken by the loss of Patterson who served the Buena Vista community for 32 years before he retired in 2014. He also served an additional seven years with Virginia Military Institute Police Department in Lexington, earning the rank of Sergeant before he left the department in late 2021.

“He was a great leader, friend and mentor to the many officers he met and worked with during his 39-year career in law enforcement. Our heartfelt condenses go out to the Patterson family and all of Jay’s friends,” the department said in a news release.

The Buena Vista Fire Department, Buena Vista Rescue Squad, Glasgow Fire Department, Lexington Fire & Rescue, Rockbridge County Fire & Rescue, Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office and the Rockbridge County Emergency Communications Center all assisted with the investigation.

At this time, Virginia State Police is handling the investigation.

See our previous reporting below:

Virginia State Police say a body was found after a reported house fire in Buena Vista.

ORIGINAL STORY (2/11/2022 at 6:11 p.m.)

A man’s body was found inside a home on Friday after a reported house fire in Buena Vista, according to Virginia State Police.

A large police presence was at 13th Street and Cherry Avenue in connection with the fire, which began around 9:30 a.m.

“I’m pretty shocked, you know. I was really surprised. I would have never expected anything like that,” said Shirley Wheeler, who lives near where the fire happened.

Authorities have not released any identifying information about the person found inside the home.

Stay with 10 News for more on this breaking story.


About the Authors:

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.

Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a content producer in July 2018.