Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: Christiansburg police had reason to shoot man

A commonwealth's attorney said police were trying to arrest the man when he pulled a gun.

The shooting of a man last month by a Christiansburg police officer was justified, the Montgomery County commonwealth's attorney said Wednesday.

Jeramiah Chamberlain was shot in the arm and injured the afternoon of May 8 at his mother's home on Ellett Drive, just off Roanoke Street in Christiansburg.

He has since been released from the hospital and has been held in jail on a probation violation.

Officer Christopher Wiscarson and two other Christiansburg police officers were attempting to arrest Chamberlain on a misdemeanor destruction of property warrant when he confronted them with a loaded pistol, Montgom- ery County Commonwealth's Attorney Brad Finch said.

The officers repeatedly ordered Chamberlain to drop the weapon but he refused, Finch said.

He said evidence indicates Chamberlain fired one shot from the pistol.

He did not strike any of the officers.

Wiscarson shot Chamberlain once, Finch said.

Virginia State Police investigated the shooting and turned over their findings to Finch, who said Wednesday he had finished reviewing their report.

The investigative file included police reports, witness interviews, witness statements, photographs and diagrams, Finch said. He said he also met with in- vestigators who were involved.

Finch said he concluded that Chamberlain posed a threat of death or serious bodily harm to the officers and that Wiscarson was justified under the law in using deadly force against Chamberlain to protect himself and the other officers.

He said his office will pursue felony charges against Chamberlain through the grand jury.

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