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Howling hatchet man wanted after 'unusual incident' at Virginia church

Virginia State Police
Posted at 6:45 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 18:46:02-04

GRAYSON COUNTY, Va. -- Police are looking for a man after an "unusual incident" inside a Virginia church, according to Virginia State Police. The incident happened Sunday night at a "rural Grayson County church" on Flatridge Road, according to police.

The man, according to police, was banging on the church door when a church member, who happened to be an off-duty Virginia State Police trooper opened the door to see what was going on outside.

"[He] encountered a man and a dog standing just outside. The trooper asked if he could help and the man yelled back at him," a Virginia State Police spokesperson said. "It was at this point that the trooper observed the man was holding a hatchet. As the trooper attempted to close the door, the man swung the hatchet and struck the back of the trooper's hand. The trooper was able to close the door and directed the members of the congregation to immediately go to the church basement for their safety."

The man left the area but could be heard yelling and howling in the woods, according to police.

"State police resources responded to the scene to search for the male subject who is described as a white male in his 30s with long, brown hair. He is approximately 5'10 in height and of medium build. He was wearing a backpack and was accompanied by a small, black, collie-mix dog. He may also be in the company of an adult female," according to police. "The trooper suffered minor scratches to his hand and was treated at the scene. No one else at the church was injured."

Anyone with information was asked to call Virginia State Police by dialing #77 or 276-228-3131.