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Former Caroline deputy sprang into action to nab YMCA murder suspect

Posted at 11:24 PM, Mar 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-24 23:24:33-04

CAROLINE, Va. -- In his 37 years, Chris Woolridge has had his fair share of close calls.

First, as a combat soldier in Afghanistan. Next, fighting crime as a deputy in Caroline. Then, back overseas to help train Afhgani police.

He was home Saturday when he heard sounds he’s learned to associate with the battlefield. They were definitely too close for comfort for Woolridge, when the murder of 16-year-old Elijah "Buck" Ball played out close by.

"It happened about 50 yards from my house,” said Woolridge. “I heard one round come whizzing by."

In an area where it's common to see kids playing outside, Woolridge, now a former Caroline deputy, sprang into action after hearing the gunfire.

CAROLINE CRIME SCENE

As he ran towards the YMCA, he could see a victim on the ground and people already trying to help him. Woolridge started asking questions about the gunman, and where he went.

"I saw the suspect come out of the woods to the right of me,” he said. “He had a weapon in his hand with a T-shirt wrapped around it."

Woolridge says the teen got into a car on Durrette Road, but when the driver started to pull off, Woolridge pulled out his own gun and ordered the driver to stop.

Then he called 911.

TEEN SHOT

Elijah "Buck" Ball was murdered at the YMCA

Falling back on his law enforcement training, he ordered everyone to get out of the car with their hands up. He says the teen told him where he could find the alleged murder weapon. "There was a one- or two-year-old child still in the car in a safety seat,” Woolrideg said. “The weapon was on the floor in front of her."

Sources tell me two weapons were removed from the car the suspect had been riding in.

Deputies say the suspect and victim had an ongoing issue of not "liking" each other.

The 15-year-old alleged triggerman will be charged as an adult.