Roanoke Police release names of officers involved in fatal shooting of suspect

ROANOKE, Va.Update:

The Roanoke Police Department has released the names of the officers involved in Saturday’s shooting.

Police said the officers are:

  • Sergeant M. Mulligan, twelve years of service
  • Officer J. Coles, five years of service

“Any loss of life is deeply tragic for this community, regardless of the circumstances,” said Roanoke Police Chief Scott Booth. “My thoughts are with this man’s family and loved ones as they navigate this loss. Any community member who is in need of resources or support is encouraged to contact our Rapid Engagement of Support in the Event of Trauma (RESET) Team for assistance, and can do so by calling our RESET Coordinator at (540)853-5304. I have the fullest confidence in the Virginia State Police team working this incident, and know that this will be a fair process for all involved.”


Virginia State Police has identified the suspect in Saturday’s officer-involved shooting in Roanoke.

Authorities have identified him as 41-year-old Travis Tauren Martin, of Roanoke.

As we’ve reported below, the incident happened on Hershberger Road in northwest Roanoke near the Shell gas station when Roanoke City Police initiated a traffic stop.

When Martin got out of his vehicle, he was holding an ax and started to advance at officers when he was shot, as reported by State Police. He was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

The weapon was recovered at the scene by investigators, according to the Virginia State Police.

At the request of The Roanoke City Police Department, the Virginia State Police, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Salem Division will be investigating the officer-involved shooting.


One man is dead after being shot by Roanoke police at around 2:30 Saturday on Hershberger Road. Police said during a traffic stop, the suspect was holding an ax when he started approaching officers.

“I did view the body worn camera footage before I speak to you all, like I always do, it appears to be an ax or a hand ax or hatchet,” Roanoke Police Chief, Scott Booth said.

But the incident started long before that traffic stop.

“At approximately 8:30 this morning the same adult male subject drove past the police department and shouted threats towards officers who were outside of police headquarters,” Booth said.

Just 15 minutes later, the suspect called 911 and threatened to kill all Roanoke police officers and 911 dispatchers.

After those threats, officers got two warrants for threats made over airwaves. A couple hours later, the same suspect was caught damaging a police car. Officers added another warrant of property damage while searching for the man.

The man was then seen driving when officers made a traffic stop, police say the suspect immediately got out of his car and moved towards the officers with the ax in hand.

“He struck one patrol car several times with that weapon then turned and advanced towards the officers,” Booth said.

That’s when two officers fired at the suspect.

“You know anytime we use deadly force, like I said is a tragedy, this is initiated by us based off how the officers felt at the scene because of a threat that was presented to them that’s how they felt,” Booth said.

Per protocol, Virginia State Police has taken over the investigation of the officer-involved shooting.

Original Story:

Virginia State Police is investigating an officer-involved shooting in the City of Roanoke.

This happened on Hershberger Road near the Shell gas station.

We are told officers were attempting to serve a warrant to an armed suspect

At some point, they said the armed suspect engaged in an altercation and advanced towards officers with a weapon.

The officers discharged their service weapon and shot the suspect.

The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.

UPDATE: In accordance with department practice, we are releasing the names of the officers involved in this incident....

Posted by Roanoke Police Department - VA on Saturday, June 8, 2024

Hershberger Road NW is blocked from Ordway Drive NW to Ferncliff Avenue NW, and Ferncliff Avenue NW is closed from Hoback Drive NW to Hershberger Road NW while officers and Virginia State Police conduct their investigation.

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Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.

Kelly Marsh joined the team in July 2023.

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