Fatal officer-involved shooting ruled justified, family responds to decision

Victor Bray refused to drop his weapon, police say

By Heather Butterworth - Digital Content Producer

ROANOKE, Va. - The commonwealth's attorney concluded Tuesday that a fatal officer-involved shooting was justified. 

It happened Nov. 8 at a home on the 2600 Block of Fairfield Drive in Roanoke. 

The officer was responding to a call for a domestic incident when he ended up firing a shot, killing 31-year-old Victor Bray.  

When the officer arrived, Bray was on the front porch with a gun. His fiancée was also on the porch and they were involved in what police are describing as "an active disorder." The officer asked Bray to drop his weapon multiple times. He refused and did fire a shot, according to police. Police say the officer then fired, killing Bray. 

Bray's fiancée was not hurt and neither was the officer. 

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Several days before the shooting, Bray and his fiancée had an argument. She told investigators that Bray hit the walls and threw things. The next day, she filed for full custody of their 2-year-old daughter, according to the release. 

The officer, R.A. Howell, is now able to resume full active duty, effective immediately. He was placed on administrative duty during the investigation, which is standard procedure in these cases. 

Commonwealth's Attorney Don Caldwell stated he has reviewed body camera footage, police reports, witness statements, photographs of the scene, a firearms ballistics report, and the official autopsy report. 

Caldwell concluded that Bray's actions placed the officer in a position where he reasonably believed that he and others were in imminent danger of death or serious injury. 

Casey King said the events that led to her fiance's death have been difficult to process.

"Disbelief, I see it. I see it all the time. I relive it all the time. Even after I knew he had been shot and didn't think they killed him. Like, why would that be your first thing that you do?" said King. 

She is trying to figure out how to move on without her daughter's father.

"I was never afraid that night for myself or our daughter. I knew that he wasn't going to hurt anybody. He was just upset," said King. 

State police and the commonwealth's office investigated this shooting. Roanoke City Police Chief, Tim Jones said it is a way to provide transparency.

"This is another layer of transparency when it's reviewed by an impartial source, someone who is not connected to our agency," said Jones.

"Transparency would have been, his mother has requested several times to see the body cam video," said King. 

King said regardless of the shooting's details, she'll remember Bray as someone who loved her and their daughter. 
 

 

 

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