Virginia police officer killed on his 29th birthday conducting welfare check
Virginia police officer killed on his 29th birthday conducting welfare check
Big Stone Gap Officer Michael Chandler. (Courtesy Town of Big Stone Gap/TNS)

Kate Feldman

New York Daily News

A Virginia police officer who was asked to perform a welfare check at a deserted home around 4 a.m. Saturday was shot by a suspect inside and died that evening.

Big Stone Gap Officer Michael Chandler, who turned 29 Saturday, was found lying unconscious in a ditch along the driveway, according to the Virginia State Police.

Chandler was taken to Norton Community Hospital and then flown to Johnson City Medical Center. He succumbed to his injuries around 7 p.m.

A suspect, who has not yet been publicly identified, was taken into custody by a joint task force of the Kingsport Tennessee Police Department’s patrol division, criminal investigation division and SWAT team.

A $20,000 reward had been offered for information leading to the suspect’s arrest, including $10,000 from the U.S. Marshals Service and $10,000 from Ballad Health CEO Alan Levine.

Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp said charges are expected “in the coming days.”

“Mike’s loss will be felt by our town and across all of Wise County,” Big Stone Gap Police Officer Michael Chandler said in a statement.

“Not only did he serve as an officer with the Town of Big Stone Gap Police Department, but also as a volunteer with the Big Stone Gap Fire Department. Please keep his family in your prayers tonight, as this should have been a day to celebrate his 29th birthday — not a day to mourn his passing.”


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