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Police: Officer fired shots at car that hit cruiser; suspects opened fire during pursuit

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Posted at 9:30 PM, Aug 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-29 23:48:30-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- An investigation is underway after a Chesterfield police officer fired shots at a driver who authorities said shot at police and then tried to run an officer down during a nearly 12-mile pursuit that ended near a Petersburg park Saturday night.

The incident began when an officer saw a car driving recklessly with improper registration around 11:25 p.m. near West Hundred Road not far from the I-95 interchange, according to Elizabeth Caroon with Chesterfield County Police.

"The officer attempted to stop the vehicle, but the vehicle did not stop and a pursuit began," Caroon said. "The suspect vehicle headed south on I-95; as the pursuit continued, additional officers joined."

Then the driver exited the interstate at Wagner Road and continued into Petersburg.

That is when police said the suspects fired shots from their vehicle at officers before the suspect's car abruptly stopped near the intersection of Shields Street and Augusta Avenue, Caroon said. That is not far from the West End Park.

To avoid hitting the suspect's car, the first officer in the pursuit had to swerve around 11:40 p.m., according to police.

"The officer stopped his vehicle alongside the suspect vehicle, exited his vehicle with his gun drawn and ordered the suspects out of the vehicle," Caroon said. "The suspect vehicle then abruptly accelerated, forcing the officer to jump back into his vehicle; the suspect vehicle made contact with the officer's arm and his vehicle."

That is when the officer fired shots at the suspect's car, which circled the block before stopping after hitting a parked car, according to police.

Officers said two people, who did not appear to have been shot, ran from the car.

Early Sunday morning, Petersburg Police urged residents near the crash scene to stay indoors "due to to police activity."

Petersburg Police posted around 9:30 a.m. that those streets had reopened, but officials have not said if the suspects were apprehended.

Officials said the Chesterfield officer whose arm was struck was "OK." He will be placed on administrative duty as is procedure since he fired his weapon.

Chesterfield County Police Chief Col. Jeff Katz said he was grateful the incident "did not lead to the unnecessary and wasteful loss of life and that our personnel were able to return home safely at the end of their shifts."

"I want to make it perfectly clear that those who choose to run from - or cause harm to - Chesterfield County Police personnel or those we are sworn to protect - will be brought to justice," Katz wrote on Facebook.

Katz also thanked Petersburg Police for their help.

"Petersburg Bureau of Police will conduct a criminal investigation into the larger incident and officer-involved shooting," Caroon said. "Once that investigation is complete, the Chesterfield County Police Department will conduct an administrative review of the incident."

If you have information that could help detectives, call Petersburg Police at 804-732-4222 or Petersburg/Dinwiddie Crime Solvers at 804-861-1212 or text the keyword pdcash followed by the tip and send to 274637.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.