Use of force in Lynchburg incident where woman attacked officers with knives ruled justifiable

The incident happened back in May at James Crossing Apartments

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Back in May, a Lynchburg woman was shot by a Lynchburg officer after authorities say she attacked them with knives. Now, Commonwealth’s Attorney Bethany Harrison has ruled that the use of force in this incident was justifiable and said the officers involved won’t face any charges.

This incident occurred on May 12 shortly before 8 a.m. when Lynchburg Emergency Communications were asked to complete a welfare check on 35-year-old Ashley Biggs Neeley, who had been behaving unusually, according to the caller. The caller also told police that Neeley had a 5-year-old son who was not at school.

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At about 8:05 a.m., Officer G. Boras arrived at the scene to conduct a welfare check and spoke to Neeley at her apartment. The officer saw that the child was indeed at home and based on the allegations for the welfare check and his own observations, he contacted the Lynchburg Department of Social Services Child Protective Services.

At about 9:30 a.m., two CPS workers arrived at the apartment; however, Neeley would not cooperate. A report from the Commonwealth’s Attorney states that Neeley was asked to take a drug test and refused. The workers then warned her that her refusal to take the drug test could result in CPS calling the child’s father to take custody of him.

When CPS picked up the phone to call the young boy’s father, she began screaming profanities at them and telling them to get out of her home. At one point, she even grabbed the CPS worker by the arm and shoved them, according to authorities. Both workers rushed from the home and called 911.

Officials say Officers S. Evans and G. Boras arrived at the scene and took statements from both workers before approaching the apartment.

At 9:50 a.m., Officer Boras knocked on the door, attempting to get her to come out. Both officers also asked her to exit the apartment several times but were unsuccessful.

That’s when Neeley opened the door with two knives in hand and tried to attack both of the officers, prompting one of the officers to fire his weapon, authorities said.

No officers were injured during the incident, and the CPS staff member did not require medical attention, police said. We’re told two knives were recovered afterward.

In addition, her son was released to CPS until he could be placed with a family member.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s said she reviewed the following before reaching a decision:

  • Reports provided by the Virginia State Police who investigated the matter
  • Body-worn camera (BWC) footage of the event
  • Reports prepared by the Department of Social Services
  • Medical records for Ashley Biggs Neeley
  • Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) records
  • Calls to Lynchburg Emergency Communications
  • Law enforcement training records of Officer S. Evans and Officer G. Boras
  • Interviews of involved parties including Officer S. Evans, Officer G. Boras
  • Citizen statements who were near the event

Neeley is due back in the Lynchburg General District Court on August 18 at 10 a.m. on the following charges, according to court records.

  • Attempted assault: Malicious bodily injury to law-enforcement officers or firefighters
  • Assault on law enforcement
  • Two counts of assault and battery

About the Authors:

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.