Motorist fatally shot by Virginia police, shotgun found: state police

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Deputy sheriffs in Virginia shot and killed a motorist carrying a shotgun after a late-night car chase following a report of a domestic assault, state police said on Tuesday.

The Culpeper County Sheriff's Office received an emergency call on Monday night reporting an assault at a residence in the area, roughly 75 miles (120 km) southwest of Washington, D.C.

The suspect, Eric Clark, 43, had fled the residence and a description of his vehicle was broadcast by authorities, according to state police, who are investigating the shooting.

About an hour later, a sheriff's deputy saw a car matching the description near the small town of Culpeper and a car chase ensued after the driver ignored a deputy's attempt to pull him over, with two more deputies joining the pursuit, state police said.

At least one deputy shot and killed Clark after stopping his car outside Culpeper, authorities said.

State police said that Clark's shotgun was recovered at the scene, though it was unclear if he had turned the shotgun on the deputies.

"The driver of the vehicle presented a deadly threat to the deputies and they responded by shooting and killing the driver," the sheriff's office said in a statement.

Neither the sheriff's office nor state police said which of the deputies shot Clark or how many shots were fired.

The deputies, who were not identified, are on modified duty until the probe has been completed, the sheriff's office said.

"I'm so grateful that our deputies are safe. I'm deeply saddened by what they were forced to do and pray for comfort for everyone affected by this incident," Sheriff Scott Jenkins said in a statement.

Police shootings have become a highly charged issue in the United States, with killings of unarmed blacks leading to street protests nationwide.

Over the weekend, officers in Minneapolis shot and killed a white Australian woman who had called 911 to report a disturbance behind her house.



(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Scott Malone and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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