VANSANT, Va. – A gunman opened fire on sheriff’s deputies investigating a possible robbery at a rural salvage yard on Sunday, killing two and injuring two others before being killed in a shootout, the Virginia State Police said.
One of the Buchanan County deputies had life-threatening injuries and the other was in serious condition, state police said.
Buchanan County Sheriff Ray Foster called the shooting “one of a kind” for his department but declined to say any more.
The owner of Roger’s Service Center in the southwestern Virginia community of Vansant told police that his business was being robbed and he had blocked the suspect’s vehicle with his own.
State Police Sgt. Steve Lowe said that when deputies and state police arrived about 2 p.m., someone started shooting at them from long range. Two deputies were hit and died at the scene.
The other two deputies were shot when they arrived at the salvage yard.
State police and other officers found the suspect about two hours later and after “some sort of engagement” they shot and killed him, Lowe said.
“I’m not sure what the confrontation was when they encountered him,” Lowe said. “Apparently he was identified as the right person.”
Lowe said he didn’t know if the man fired on police or if he was armed at the time.
State police did not release the names of the deputies or the suspect; they may not be given until today.
Residents were asked to leave their homes shortly after the salvage yard shooting, and several remained away late Sunday.