State police K-9 ‘Vader’ killed in chase that ended in gunfire

Posted at 6:30 PM, Aug 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-02 20:41:45-04

SUSSEX COUNTY, Va. -- Officials said a suspect and a two-year-old K-9 officer were killed after a police chase on I-95 ended in gunfire in Sussex County Wednesday morning.

Virginia State Police Public Relations Director Corinne N. Geller said a trooper headed north on Interstate 95 in Sussex County identified a vehicle at 8:18 a.m. that had been reported stolen out of Connecticut.

"The trooper activated his lights and siren to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle," Geller said. "The vehicle's driver refused to stop for the trooper and sped away."

Vader (PHOTO: Virginia State Police)

Vader (PHOTO: Virginia State Police)

As the pursuit began, officials said the suspect began firing  at the trooper's vehicle. The pursuit continued on I-95 until the driver took Exit 24 for Owens/Route 645 in Sussex County.

Officials said that as the car approached the intersection of Loco School and Bell roads, troopers positioned themselves to stop the vehicle.

Geller said the suspect continued firing at the state police vehicles. It was then that "one of the suspect's bullets pierced a K9 trooper's back passenger window and struck a state police canine riding in the back seat compartment."

Officials said once the vehicle stopped, troopers engaged the suspect and shots were fired.

"The male suspect died at the scene and will be transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Va. for examination and autopsy," Geller said. "Virginia State Police are still working to confirm the shooting suspect's identity."

"Vader" as a K-9 trainee during a test search during training exercises at Virginia State Police Headquarters in November of 2017.

"Vader" as a K-9 trainee during a test search during training exercises at Virginia State Police Headquarters in November of 2017.

Troopers said an adult female passenger in the suspect's vehicle was released after being treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital.

Geller said no troopers were injured.

"The state police narcotics detection canine, Vader, did not survive his injuries," Geller said.

The 2-year-old Belgian Malinois graduated from Virginia State Police Narcotics Detection Training in December 2017.

Officials said three troopers are on administrative leave as is policy for officer-involved shootings.

The investigation into the incident remains ongoing, Geller said.

Tramaine Marquese Poole

Suspect was wanted for murder 

The man killed during the officer-involved shooting has been identified as Tramaine Marquese Poole, 41, New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell told the New Haven Register.

Campbell says Poole was wanted for the murder of 28-year-old Tyekqua Nesbitt who was shot to death in front of her two children in New Haven, Connecticut on May 31.

CBS 6 is working to confirm this information with Virginia State Police.

Poole was also wanted in New Haven for the first-degree shooting assault of his wife on May 7.

A $30,000 reward was offered by the U.S. Marshal’s Violent Fugitive Task Force and States Attorney’s office, to anyone who had information on Poole.

Wednesday's incident started around 8:18 a.m. when a State Police Trooper identified a vehicle that had been reported stolen out of Connecticut, according to state police.

Shots were fired from the suspect's vehicle as officers with the State Police Drug Interdiction Task Force initiated a traffic stop on Interstate 95 south of Sussex County, according to Virginia State Police spokesperson Sgt. Michelle Anaya.

One of the suspect's bullets struck a state police K9 riding in the back-seat compartment. The canine did not survive his injuries.

The suspect's vehicle eventually exited Interstate 95 north at Exit 24.

Once off the interstate, more shots were fired from the suspect's vehicle toward police, Anaya said.

The situation ended with a crash near the intersection of Bell Road and Loco School Road in Yale, Virginia.

Once the vehicle was stopped, Virginia State Police say troopers returned fire with the male suspect, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

A female passenger in the suspect vehicle was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The names of the suspects have not yet been released by Virginia State Police.

No Virginia State Police troopers were hurt in the incident.

The fallen K9, who has not been identified, has been given full honors, including lights and motorcycles, and escorted back to Richmond.

Three Virginia State Police troopers have been placed on administrative leave, as is standard after all officer-involved shooting incidents.

Neighbor: I heard 'bang! bang bang!'

Along Bells Road in Sussex, people are used to seeing trees and mailboxes not police pursuits that end in gunfire.

As the police pursuit exited Interstate 95 north at Exit 24, neighbor Dwayne Tomlin hear sirens and saw the vehicles heading down Bell Road.

"I heard a gunshot," said Tomlin.

"All of a sudden I heard bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang and then I got in my truck and rode up there," added Tomlin, who captured some video of the incident on his cell phone.

"That had spun out and run into the ditch and was turned over and was smoking when I got there," said Tomlin, referencing to a vehicle involved in the crash.

David Hornberger was walking down his driveway; when he saw the suspect vehicle speeding down Bell Road.

“Then less than a second or two behind it, there come police officer after police officer. I mean they came out the wood work,” said Hornberger.

“I’ve never seen such a barrage of police officers in my life,” said Tameisha Reed.



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