Police detained him after he threatened to kill his dad. Did he lose gun rights?

Posted at 5:03 PM, Dec 08, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. — Did former Virginia State Trooper Austin Lee Edwards lose his right to buy a gun after police took out a temporary detention order on him during a mental health episode in 2016? Edwards, 28, killed the family members of a 15-year-old California girl he tried to sexually extort online before killing himself last month, according to police.

The inpatient psychiatric hospital where Edwards was taken by police six years ago declined to say whether Edwards lost his right to buy a gun. Calls and texts to Edwards' father went unanswered on Thursday.

Police in Washington County, Virginia took out the Temporary Detention Order (TDO) back in February 2016 after police found Edwards cutting himself with a knife and threatening to kill himself and kill his father, according to the police incident report.

Officers found blood all over the house and bite marks on Edwards' dad from where Edwards bit his dad when he tried to stop him from cutting himself.

In the report, police said Edwards tried to bite them when they tried to restrain him.

Edwards was taken to Ridgeview Pavilion, an inpatient psychiatric facility. What happened next has not been made public.

After a TDO is issued in Virginia, the person who is detained is given a psych evaluation and potentially stabilized with treatment.

The Director of the Facility is allowed to release the person if it appears that person does not meet the criteria for commitment.

However, if the director does not do this, the person has a hearing before a judge within 72 hours of the TDO being issued.

During that hearing, the judge offers the person the opportunity to voluntarily commit themselves for treatment.

If the person declines, the judge will then hold an involuntary commitment hearing and the person who is being held can hire an attorney.

A spokesperson for Ballad Health, the company that owns Ridgeview Pavilion, said it cannot release any information about what happened with Edwards' TDO due to patient privacy rules.

If a person is involuntarily committed or voluntarily commits themself in Virginia, they lose their gun rights and have to petition to get them back.

However, a TDO on its own is not enough to take away a person's right to buy a gun in Virginia.

Edwards was hired by the Virginia State Police and entered the police academy on July 6, 2021, Virginia State Police Public Relations Manager Corinne Geller said. He graduated as a trooper on Jan. 21, 2022, and was assigned to Henrico County within the agency’s Richmond Division until his resignation on Oct. 28.

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