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Powhatan man shot by deputy had been threatening his family via text

Posted at 8:11 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 20:11:53-04

POWHATAN COUNTY, Va., — A Powhatan man who sent a series of threatening text messages to his family was wounded during a deputy-involved shooting, according to investigators.

Around 7 p.m. on Sunday, The Powhatan County Sheriff’s Office received a report that 25-year-old Joshua Sprouse had sent text messages threatening to kill his family members and law enforcement.

Deputies and state troopers located Sprouse at his home on Three Bridge Road after a warrant and Emergency Custody Order were issued.

"Sprouse was shooting a variety of weapons in multiple directions," Chief Deputy Jeffery S. Searfoss with the Powhatan County Sheriff’s Office said.

Responding deputies reported to dispatchers that Sprouse was shooting at the Sheriff’s Office drone and at passing cars, and that they were unable to stop him from shooting. Law enforcement told neighbors to “bunker down” as the suspect fired his weapons randomly outside.

"Multiple attempts to communicate with Sprouse were made and were unsuccessful," Searfoss said.

Neighbor Katie Bayer moved across the street from Sprouse about a month ago.

“We were actually trying to get away from the violent crimes in the city,” she explained.

Bayer said she began hearing random shooting sometime after 6 p.m. Sunday, which isn’t unusual in her neighborhood.

“We’re used to hearing gunshots out here,” Bayer stated. “They sounded really close and at first it was more of annoyance.”

After seeing a man with a gun standing on the porch, Bayer explained that she was going to call 911 until a swarm of first responders filled Three Bridge Road.

"Ultimately Sprouse exited his residence and attempted to shoot a deputy at which time he was shot by a Powhatan County deputy," Searfoss said.

Sprouse was taken to an area hospital and was in surgery at last check early Monday morning, according to deputies.

Searfoss said the deputy involved in the shooting is on administrative leave as is procedure.

State police are conducting a follow-up investigation on the incident, deputies said.

No other injuries were reported.