No charges filed in Yonder Hill shootings

The man shot in a pre-dawn raid by police looking for suspects who had been taking pot shots at vehicles on Interstate 64 will not be charged, nor will the Albemarle County police officer who shot him, Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford announced June 19.

Virginia State Police concluded their investigation of the raid on Yonder Hill Farm in Crozet, where Slade Woodson, 19, was arrested for a March 27 shooting rampage that stretched from I-64 and western Albemarle to Waynesboro.

At approximately 4:38am March 28, State Police and Albemarle tactical units served a warrant at the farm off Lanetown Road, and farm manager Edgar Dawson was shot by Albemarle Officer Michael Easton.

Lunsford issued a release in which she contends that members of both teams identified themselves multiple times before entering the house and again as they entered. Once inside, Easton encountered Dawson holding a "large silver revolver with the gun extended in front of his body," according to the release.

"Dawson did not lower or release his gun or retreat in any way despite repeated direction from the tactical team. Fearing that Dawson was going to discharge his gun, Officer Easton shot Dawson two times, and Dawson's gun also discharged," the release adds.

"We take issue with some of the claims [in the release]," says Dawson's lawyer, Alexandria-based John Zwerling. "The perceptions of people who were sleeping are different. If [police] announced who they were, it wasn't done in a way that made it to the people who were sleeping in their bedroom."

And that's where Dawson was shot, says Zwerling.

"He got up and got his gun because he didn't know who it was," says Zwerling. "He was standing beside his bed. He never raised it, but he got shot. It happened in a split second."

In a June 19 letter to Virginia State Police, Lunsford says Dawson "appeared in a doorway" and then notes that after he was shot, he "fell onto the bed."

This was the first public announcement that Dawson's gun had fired, and apparently it discharged after he had been shot. "I believe so," says Lunsford. "It's unclear."

The bullet from Dawson's gun struck the door jam in a downward motion, she says, and went into the floor on Easton's side of the door. Lunsford sees two scenarios for the discharge of Dawson's gun.

"From my perspective, one, he was there intending to fire, and the officer shot first, or two, it was involuntary," i.e. after he'd been shot in the arm. In either case, she surmises that Dawson's finger was on the trigger.

Zwerling contends that Dawson did not intend to fire. "He wouldn't have fired at the floor," says Zwerling. "We think when the shot hit his arm, it went off."

Wounded in the chest and in the arm, Dawson, who works as a mechanic, was taken to UVA Medical Center and is still recovering from nerve damage in his hand. "His right hand was permanently damaged," says Zwerling. "He has feeling in his thumb and index finger. The other three are numb, and he can't hold a wrench."

This is the first case for Lunsford that involves a shooting by a cop. She decided not to press charges against Officer Easton because, she explains, "He was legally there executing a search warrant, and a man was pointing a gun at him in his doorway."

As for charging Dawson, Lunsord considered "what a judge or a reasonable person on a jury might think," she says. "It was 4:30am, he was asleep in his house, there was a lot of noise and commotion, and he was not sure what was going on."

Albemarle police wore uniforms and vests with cloth badges and the word "Police" written in large letters on the chest. Easton carried a shield that also said "Police," and when Dawson appeared, Easton held up the shield for protection, looking through the view box, according to the report. Two of the Dawsons' dogs were barking, police were shouting, "Police," "Search Warrant," and the house was dark except for illumination carried by the tactical teams.

And according to Zwerling, police were wearing gear similar to miners' lamps with high-intensity illumination. "Edgar would have been lit up and he couldn't see anything," says Zwerling.

Lunsford¢ââ??¬“ who became the county's top prosecutor in January¢ââ??¬“ declined to comment on Zwerling's disputation of official claims.

Zwerling commends Lunsford for not bringing charges. "This is a relief," he says. "Just because you didn't do anything wrong doesn't mean you can't be charged."

And he offers a suggestion for Albemarle police. "I think they ought to rethink rapid entry because of the danger to the innocent¢ââ??¬“ and that a person will react as Mr. Dawson did is predictable."

The mailbox at Yonder Hill Farm had been blown up a few months before the raid. "Someone is sleeping out in the country where there has been crime," says Zwerling. "Someone comes smashing into your house and you have your holster near your bed."

Adds the attorney, "He could have been killed."

-updated 9:42am, June 24


Zwerling-------------"Danger to the innocent, Danger to the innocent??? If the rotten little bastard that was sniping at innocent motorist had been properly been "taken out" this incident never would hav taken place.

Lock up the little brat that thought this was "all fun & games 'til the cops showed up" & throw away the key.

Excellent job by Albemarle County!

I was always under the impression that you don't have a right to hold a gun, if police announce their presence, as they did. In fact, I thought you had to put the gun down. No wonder the police were afaid he would shoot. Dawson certainly acted as if he may shoot.
I think this ruling sets a dangerous example. Excuses were made for Dawson because it was dark and there was noise? As he heard "POLICE", wasn't he breaking the law to grab a gun?
Give me a break. The police were clearly in the right. I don't believe Dawson behaved lawfully toward the police!
Maybe these poorly behaved kids learned some bad ideas concerning "guns" from the older man.

This tragic disabling of an innocent man was a direct result of terrible strategic decision making on the part of leadership, in my opinion. Conducting a pre-dawn military style raid on a home where innocents are known to be sleeping was clearly the wrong plan.

It is said that the father heard the announcement of "police". He was asleep. At best he woke up after he heard "po-BAM" as his door was breached, then "ser-war" under the sounds of people scurrying into his home. He did what any reasonable head of a household would do, he moved to protect his family while trying to figure out what's going on.

Remember, the man who was shot was not wanted, had no idea that the police might have a reason to come to his home, and did not know of his teen son's involvement in anything. He just knew that his family was asleep and there is an aggressive threat coming in the door, right now.

Both Mr. Dawson and Officer Easton seem to be victims of a total failure in sound strategic planning. My prayers go out that Mr. Dawson's senseless disability might heal and that Officer Easton will find peace after being needlessly put in a position to do this to an innocent civilian.

I think some questions need to be asked and changes made so that in the future we won't have resolutions where the only dead and wounded are innocent victims of police bullets. The real inquiry isn't about Officer Easton's performance in the tactical strike, but about the pre-raid strategic planning. I don't think the police or the community should be satisfied with this outcome.

The only way to serve a high risk warrant is to use surprise. There are two people inside this house who have been riding around and shooting at cars, people and houses and you think it is safe for the police to show up during the day, knock on the door and hope they don't get shot by the snipers. The police were absolutely correct with there pre-dawn raid and hopefully if needed will continue to do so to protect our community.

Family Guy, The way I read this, Dawson was probably given enough warning to drop the gun. My God, the police seem to have had a good reason to go to this house. Didn't the kid live there? Had not the kid been out shooting up the town? You say Dawson was protecting his family? I wonder if he thought to check to see if the kid was in bed? Maybe Dawson ought to now be charged with neglect or nonsupervision of a 16 year old.
Have you ever heard of being trigger happy? Seems it runs in the family!

The sad thing here: In ruling this way, It now appears crafty criminals in Albemarle can just figure out how to convince Lunsford that they didn't hear, didn't know, didn't understand, etc. etc. etc. They may also claim they were asleep. This guy got off way too easy.

Wow, this is pretty shocking. An innocent hard working guy with no criminal record who is sleeping peaceably in his own bed is painted to be Al Capone.

This guy got off way to easy?!? Are you serious? Getting shot in his own home having never committed a crime in his life is "getting off easy". Losing the ability to work in his trade is "getting off easy"? Yeah, it's shocking. BTW, most people can "claim they were asleep" at 4:30 AM.... because they ARE.

Shouldn't the CRIMINALS be the ones we don't want to see get off easy.

Sure, the kid needed to be arrested. No doubt about it. Are you sure there's no way for the police to accomplish an arrest without shooting innocent bystanders?

I do note that the State Police investigation left it to the prosecutor's discretion rather than the usual finding that it was justified.

From the reports, it looks like Ms. Lunsford made a wise and honorable determination regarding both men.

Family Guy, The others make a better case.

I said this elsewhere on another blog: if Mr. Dawson had known his kid was out the other night shooting up the interstate, he might not have been so surprised that the police were busting down his door a few nights later. If Mr. Dawson didn't know what his kid had been up to a few nights earlier, then he's not being a particularly good parent (it was a school night, after all). And ultimately, his kid put Mr. Dawson at this risk via his own actions. Instead of snarking at the police for doing their jobs, I would think he'd be furious with his child for not only endangering innocent highway drivers but also for endangering his own family.

Amen Cecil! This is a situation where too much sympathy is afforded to badly behaved people. It is certainly a criminal act to ever pull a gun on law officers. I feel sorry for the police. The lawyer was trying to get the kid out of jail and now the Com. Att. is letting daddy off the hook. Something looks and smells rotten to me. This situation was a hair away from being a mass murder, and these people along with Woodson caused the whole problem. This was an event-national news. Think of the financial costs to taxpayers! Will these people be required to pay the county or state for associated costs? I'm embarrassed that the legal system is cooking up so many excuses for these people. Who was supervising the kid? Good question!

I suppose future victims of home invasion robberies and rapes should check the ID of the invaders before deciding whether or not to attempt to defend their wives and children at 4:30 in the AM.

The Virginia Dept of Health says that 40% of the households in the state have at least 1 firearm. Maybe I don't state my case well but I still think police should plan for this reality when conducting a home invasion if they are interested in minimizing collateral damage of the innocent. It is a fast moving situation where fractions of a second count and the innocent guy in the house will have just been jolted out of sound sleep.

The kid is at fault for the situation and it looks like he deserves some hard time. Still, an innocent hard working husband and father with no criminal record should not have been shot and lost the ability to work his trade.

Y'all make some outrageous justifications. He did not deserve to be shot because he kept a gun for self defense. He did not deserve to be shot because he didn't spend enough time teaching his kid about responsible firearm handling. He did not deserve to be shot because his kid had lied about his whereabouts and activities. Y'all say he was "probably" given enough warning to drop the gun. I say a charged up officer in a home invasion raid cannot give the guy more than a fraction of a second... and the guy is not fully awake and stunned. There's no way to give enough warning. I say he was probably not allowed sufficient warning given the conditions. He could not have been.

In this situation, the innocent guy cannot be allowed sufficient warning. The officer reasonably expects bad guys to come out gunning and the innocent homeowner reasonably is trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

This wasn't a crack house or a den of thieves. It was a family's home.

I still think it's reasonable to re-assess the strategy and see how it might be done better in the future to minimize the tragedy of police shooting an innocent man. The homeowner and the officer were let down by this strategy.

Family Guy, Do you know FOR SURE, all of the facts with regard to police strategy/decision, in this case? Police/higher ups, have not been accused/found guilty of doing ANYTHING wrong here. If this had been my house, I KNOW I would never have picked up a gun in such a case. All others and I haven't said he deserved to be shot! I do think in light of his behavior/choice, he caused police to shoot. You paint Dawson as an innocent. Well, obviously others disagree strongly. Parents ARE responsible for a 16 year old kid's whereabouts-behavior, the same as they are responsible for supervising 2 year old. Parents can also be charged with child neglect, until a minor reaches 18. My guess, the C. Attorney will not look at this piece, even though the parents were absent as their kid was out shootin em up.

F.Guy, You seem like a nice person. I just think you are too trusting and forgiving of those who appear to ignore established law. I wonder if the legal system will also excuse others who draw guns on police-future?

It' not a home invasion it's pronouced knock and annouce search warrant. Well at least that is how the court would look at it.

Joc, all I know for sure is that a man with no warrant and no criminal record was shot in his home. You guess there may be "child neglect" involved, but I don't think we shoot people for that in Virginia, do we? Of course, we don't know any of the facts of that. There seem to be a lot of guesses to justify an innocent man being shot and they just don't do it.

No, I don't see any court action called for. Officer Easton certainly had little choice in the matter. By the time he was face to face with a frightened head of household, it was a matter of fractions of a second.

An innocent husband and father was shot. That looks to be a fact. He may very well no longer be able to work in his trade. That's up to God and the doctors. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why y'all are so determined to deny the wisdom of reviewing the strategic decisions that led to tactics giving this result. This whole mess is a tragedy from start to finish. It's the boys' fault but I know for a fact that anytime a policeman shoots an innocent man, something went wrong. I just advocate giving it some thought to see if another tragedy might be avoided in the future. I am as "law and order" as anybody and I think that law enforcement is serious business. If a football team makes a mistake, they work on doing better. I expect no less from law enforcement leadership and the community.

Why all the venom against a suggestion to consider if we might do better in the future? The result was predictable but not optimal. Surely we all want to do better than innocent husbands/fathers being shot. Isn't it worth giving some thought to?

Nobody knows how a court will rule on anything until Mr. Dawson files his lawsuits.

So thats it. We're waiting on a lawsuit from Dawson. Oh, this wouldn't surprise me. Then the policeman should file a return suit. The C.A. is setting up such a vulnerable situation in ruling light.
What rubbish is written. No one has suggested shooting someone for child neglect. I don't understand what family guy is suggesting here. The reality is, "the parenting doesn't look very well". The public deserves to see the legal system investigating and reporting on the circumstances wherein this kid "ran around shooting with a gun all night". Where was Dad or Mom?

What exactly would the police sue for?

Did one of them stub his wittle toe on the Dawson's front porch?

I'm not talking about courts. Perhaps I wasn't clear. I'm talking about the community considering if things might be done better in the future such that the risk of innocent people being shot and disabled is minimized. I'm not calling for action, just thought. This is our community. Doesn't everybody want it to be the best it can be?

Jane denies anyone implying that bad parents deserve being shot, then comments on an innocent man being shot by bringing up his parenting skills in the next sentence.

Innocent people being shot is bad, ok. I maintain that the community should consider what went wrong and how it might be avoided in the future. I suggest that the strategic decision, in this case, is an aspect worth examining. No finger pointing. No lawsuits. Just community involvement for the sake of community excellence.

Opie, police also have rights.If I we're Dawson,I would choose to leave well enough alone and steer clear of filing suit.From what I have heard,the police were within their rights according to policy, at the time. In addition,the child neglect issue should be addressed by Lunsford and company.Do we care in Albemarle, as parents of teenage children are excused in allowing their children to roam freely in the middle of the night?If this parenting strategy is unacceptable, then Lunsford should put a foot down in this case. Teenage children are deserving of more comprehensive care and responsible guardianship.

Family Guy,Thank you for the clarification.The parenting piece is separate from the crime and shooting, but it should be addressed in Dawson's case.Any lack of supervision for this kid on this horrific night,should be dealt with by the court.The community wants to hear and deserves to hear how and why a 16 year old wasn't being properly supervised on this night.

I hadn't heard any allegations of child neglect or abuse. Had there been reports by teachers? neighbors? family? Had social services been involved? Was the kid habitually delinquent or truant? Was this the first time out late up to no good or was it usual behavior. Had the parents actively been trying to address delinquent behavior, just started to see some problems, had no previous experience of such behavior, or truly negligent?

At any rate, it is a seperate issue that has been introduced into this discussion only as a diversion from the topic at hand. It is offered as an excuse but fails in that regard. Even if all the conjecture is true, the fact remains that people should not be shot for being poor parents. If innocent people are shot as a result of a strategic decision, that decision should be examined.

Family Guy.. Sorry, but I'm afraid your arguements are unconvincing. Every parent is responsible for attending to a 16 year old, and knowing where he is, at that time of night. If social services or law enforcement hasn't looked into the situation In THIS CASE, they certainly should do so. I know and have talked with many excellent parents of teenagers. They would agree I am correct. I can assure you, the parenting here seems off base.
Have you thought "how close" to murder Dawson's child was that late night?
It is your excuses that are failing, not the others. You seem to want Dawson completely off the hook in every way. You also seem sore that the parenting piece has been questioned. We know too much not to raise questions.

Family Guy. Aside from your questionable arguments here, I will add, your idea to look into procedure-surprise police search, is a good one. Maybe some things need to be adjusted, but I'm not sure. I do believe the officers did a good job in following current policy.

This father/family/child /community would be better off if the gun culture was much less accepted. This macho gun culture is self defeating and pathetic.

Some of you keep talking about Dawson picking up a gun or pointing a gun at officer........Hell.....He shot the gun! This country is in a critical time, when because of alot of this crap, Good young men and women don't want to become police officers. For those of you supporting the officers, it is not unnoticed and it's greatly apprieciated

Teacher #9: You know... I for one am tired of your lame argument, that you have reiterated seemingly a million times, that a parent is responsible for absolutely everything their child does and that parents should somehow be able to account for every single instant of their child's activities. That is just complete nonsense. In case you missed it kids do sneak out of the house and engage in behavior that most parents disapprove of. Sorry if that working during the day and having to sleep at night thing gets in the way of your absurd conclusion. It appears that you have no children of your own or you would likely not claim such a ridiculous standard. Otherwise your children must be so incredibly coddled that when they finally do reach adulthood you will find them completely incapable of making decisions on their own.

Gail: 115,000 people a year die in automobile accidents. 2 MILLION people die or are seriously injured a year due to work related injuries. Is it your contention that we outlaw cars and work? By your "reasoning" how would you refute the conclusion that driving and working is anything other than self defeating and pathetic? Perhaps it would be well for you to remember that the so called "gun culture", that you denounce, is responsible for brining you your right to free speech. It's also the reason you're not presently speaking German. If you're confused perhaps you should contact the British embassy and inquire why it is that Bobby's now carry guns instead of just a billyclub and harsh language. So, don't you think your allusion is a rather bizarre distortion of the truth?

It all comes down to this; Did the man deserve to be shot by police for incompetent parenting or should the decision to use this strategy be reviewed by the community and its elected representatives?

The officers on the scene look to have executed the procedures of a special weapons and tactics assault properly (other than poor shot placement that should have killed the man). The strategy of using such tactics on a home owned and occupied by law abiding people has lead to the shooting of an innocent citizen.

For the sake of clarity, I'll concede that this guy was the worst father ever. Given that, he did not deserve to be shot in his own home by police.

The decision to use this strategy against an honest man's home needs to be examined. Bad parenting does not justify shooting.

The kid needed to be arrested. An innocent man should not have been shot. It is a bad strategy that makes likely the shooting of a man whose only offense may be bad parenting.

The kid has admitted guilt. Has the father had the guts or manners to publicly apologize to the county police, state police, and the community for his own child's bad behavior? I know parents who have submitted public apology for their kid's far lesser crime. I know parents who have apologized for their kid damaging property, etc. It seems Dawson should at least set an example for his own son-others, by making public apology. After all, this was a very public crime.

Just to be clear, I absolutely believe the officers on the scene did an excellent job executing the tactics they were assigned. I completely support Albemarle's police officers. I believe in law and order. I think Officer Easton was just as much a victim of this strategy as Mr. Dawson. Bemoaning the "gun culture" does not change the fact that 40% of Virginia homes have a firearm. When thugs and rapists invade a home, a gun can be a good tool. When police consider invading the home of a man who has no reason to expect them using force designed to terminate resistance, that 40% probability of a gun will get somebody killed.

Until wishes of peace and kumbaya and all guns evaporating come true, level heads in the community should evaluate continued use of military style home invasion warrant service on homes owned by innocent civilians.

If Albemarle County does not have a child curfew, maybe the legal system does not consider children running around all night to be harmful and, therefore, allowing children to run around all night to be neglect.
Family Guy states the policy of late-night home invasions of non-crack houses for arrests should be re-examined to protect the non-offending occupants and by-standers. Unfortunately, he brought in a lot of other issues to make his point.

Jolted, I agree that apology would be the honorable thing. Given that he first learned of his son's involvement about the same instant he was shot twice by high powered rifle bullets and disabled from future work in his trade, the apology might not be foremost on his mind.

Failure to apologize does not justify shooting him, especially when he didn't know an apology was called for until after he was shot.

Let's see what other ways we can demonize this man to justify shooting him.

Cletus, I hope your children turn out alright. You appear to be permissive and defensive. Read through the posts. I'm not the only one who shares such opinions regarding parenting.
Gail, you make perfect sense. Many rural kids grow up watching PaPa shoot Bambi's face apart in front of junior's eyes. I know this because the poor kids tell me about it. Too many guns in the hands of dysfunctional people!

Long time resident says Dawson pulled the trigger first. If this is so, no wonder the officer shot back! I can't believe Lunsford is excusing Dawson, if he fired his gun?????

Long time resident, my apology, you didn't say "first".
What you did say, is news to me.

Based on the State Police investigation, Dawson's gun discharged into the door jamb when he was shot in the chest and arm. Does Longtime resident know something they don't know.

Keep 'em coming though. What other reasons can we think of to justify a strategy that resulted in an innocent man being shot in his own bedroom?

Oh yeah, he's probably a "poor" guy who "shoots Bambi's face". That's certainly colorful and fanciful as well as socio-economically discriminatory, but still not a reason to shoot him down without considering whether there are other alternatives.

Don't give up now. Why else did this guy with no record and no warrant deserve to be shot down in his own bedroom?

Teacher #9: Please feel free to examine both FBI and INTERPOL gun crime statistics to satisfy yourself(but I'm betting you'd rather whine than take the time to do that). It will show you that the popular alarmist mentality, that you so brilliantly display, is totally without merit. Also, I believe you will find that a zealously held belief by a large number of individuals is proof/evidence of absolutely nothing. For centuries large groups of people believed the earth was flat, the sun revolved around the earth and that stars were pinholes in the curtain of night shining through from heaven. None of those things turned out to be true no matter how many people believed it. So did you actually have any conclusions to share or did you hope that pulling peoples heart strings about blasting Bambi's brains out would somehow distract us long enough to realize you haven't actually said anything worthwhile? Besides, Bambi tastes good. I love venison. Wouldn't it be lovely if the world was all kitties, puppies, sunshine and flowers. But it isn't. Why don't you contact the Richmond, Norfolk or Washington DC police and see if they'll let you ride with them during the weekend nights. You'll see more clearly how the real world is. Or maybe you won't. You've demonstrated a startling predilection to ignore the most basic of facts and obvious truths. If the olympics gave out medals for naivete you'd surely win the gold.

Ok guys, teacher #9 knows more than you know about family situations. Hell, she probably knows more about this situation than ya'll do too. No one has said the guy deserved to be shot. Some think the shooting was Dawson's fault. Many think he didn't supervise the kid that night! The teacher probably taught those of rural gun toting sorts for years. My guess, she's probably fed up with societys' defense of this red neck behavior. Cletus, talk about calling the kettle black. Who sounds whiney now? Wanna have it your way?

I remain concerned that certain related circumstances have been overlooked and excused. I remain unconvinced that certain preventative and restorative measures have been taken care of by the Commonwealth's Attorney, as she has dismissed Dawson. Let's stick to the concept: "same/equal laws for all". This family appears to be protected and coddled. Why?

He had a gun pointed at police officers. These police officers annouced that they were police officers and announced search warrant. Before entering the home they knocked on the door annouced police officers and annouced search warrent. He pointed a gun at police officers with his finger on the trigger and was ordered to drop the gun numerous times he didn't. The officer shot him. He also fired. The police were well within their rights to do what they did. So people will always be critical of the police no matter what. If he would have shot and killed an officer some of you would be outraged. Why didn't they shoot him? Some of you would be extremely happy even though you wouldn't voice it. If they would have conducted the search warrant at noon and something went wrong they would have said why didn't they go in the early morning or midnight. You can't have it both ways. The sad part is that alot of you writing here have very little experience in anything like serving a search warrant, so you speak on an issue while bringing your personal prejudice against police officers into the argument. These officers are out there keeping you safe while your home sleeping in your bed with one thumb in your mouth and the other up your ass. You should be more grateful than you are. There isn't always a conspiracy hippie. I done with my rant now. You may go back to talking about dumb stuff again.

Armchair, I hear you! I hope more pro police or people with some common sense write in. Too many excuses in this case. Many of these liberal anything goes folks want everyone "let off" asap. They'll change their minds when they or a family member are directly impacted by crime.

The fact remains that an innocent man was shot by police. Nobody wants that outcome, do they?

The fact remains that a strategy was called for that made this outcome likely, even though the tactics of the entry were carried out flawlessly. Mr. Dawson was indeed surprised and confused, which is the design of the tactic.

The fact remains that the community and its elected representatives should review the strategic decision and work with law enforcement to find a way that the error is not repeated. I don't for a second believe that that other officers should be put in a position where they have to shoot an innocent father/husband/head of household.

Albemarle County can do better and should not ignore this chance to find a way to do so.

Family Guy. I Don't know anymore than what I have I have read in various places. No matter when he fired his finger was on the trigger and pulled the trigger. I'm not sure how else you would have the police handle this. There were two known gunmen in a house. Gunmen that had spent an entire night shooting up three different communities. You don't just knock on the door and say come out. If they had many more people could have been shot. You can't surround the place and say come out, because then the police are creating a hostage situation and you give the suspects a perfect sniper situation. It's too bad anyone was shot at all. This was handled the best way possible, maybe the police saved the Dawsons from Woodson?? we will never know what could have happened.

What we have is one of the most notorius crimes in VA this year. We have 2 of the worst teenagers in VA. We have police who did a fine job and played by the book. Why would Lunsford avoid the most severe punishment and introspection for all circumstances, including the parenting part? I pray we don't have copycats. If so, they have learned some strategy to avoid penalties. Bad parents have learned they won't be held responsible as they don't get a handle on bad teenagers.

Where did this boy get the gun? If it belonged to a parent or another adult, will the adult be charged with contributing to the D. of a minor, child endangerment or neglect? Maybe cletus knows the answer :-))))))))))))))))))

So y'all are fine with an innocent guy being shot in their own home standing next to their own bed. In fact, some of you think that being shot and disabled isn't severe enough for a "bad parent". I think we should strive for better by at least considering, officially, whether there is room for improvement. That's all I'm suggesting, and I'm getting excoriated for it.

LTR says we'll never know what could have happened. We do know what DID happen. I don't buy the argument that "Dawson was saved from Woodson" by being shot and disabled.

Teacher #9 still thinks that child neglect is a good reason for police to go to a man's house and shoot him. That's not what we do in Virginia. Anyway, that's all guesses and no fact.... an immature attempt at excusing responsibility by deflection.

When police shoot an innocent man in his own home, something went wrong. Nobody wanted that to happen. Our police department is too good to want to settle for that. Why so much opposition to considering whether we might learn from a mistake.

I am certainly glad that the dangerous kids were apprehended.

Again he was not shot for child neglect. He was shot because police told him to put the gun down and he didn't. Quit trying to make this into something it's not. Why is it the poice's mistake. Sounds to me like it was Mr. Dawson's mistake. Lucky for him he will get to learn from it because he wasn't killed. He should feel blessed and gratful to be alive.

Okey dokey, a man with no record and no warrant is asleep in his own home with no reason to expect trouble, the police execute a tactical entry warrant service designed to surprise and confuse the occupants, and the man is shot, understandably, in the fraction of a second that an alert policeman can allow a sleepy confused man to realize what is happening.

So, a police strategy creates a situation where an innocent man who was minding his own business is shot and disabled. Rather than take advantage of the learning ezperience, we villify the man and staunchly refuse to acknowledge that this outcome was less than optimal.

Good plan. He is lucky that he's disabled and probably there should have just been an airstrike called in on the neighborhood.

Family Man, Can you read? I never said child neglect is a reason to shoot someone in such a case. I do believe other circumstances that happened that night, gave police a very good reason to shoot. I also believe related circumstances-supervision cetainly should be investigated and findings should be made public. Any "violating supervisory adults" should be charged and held accountable.

fam man, you ain't makin good sence no more.

If nobody in the community thinks the police desire to make arrests without shooting innocents then that's the way it will be.

Still seems to me like it wouldn't hurt anything to consider what might be learned from experience. Maybe that's just too challenging.

Fam Man, your really reaching. The shooting and parenting are two seperate issues. By the way, do you know who saved Dawson's life at the scene? Who kept him from dieing after the shooting? People that were placed on scene in case something like this happened! Not a bad plan huh! You can argue all you want.
he should have dropped the gun.

I'm not the one who keeps implying that the parenting justifies the shooting. Parenting and neglect allegations are irrelevant. The fact is that the court services unit stated that their recommendation, after extensive investigation, for a local detention sentence was based, in part, on a very supportive and positive family environment. I know it's easier to disregard that but those folks are thorough and tough. If you don't agree, perhaps they should be part of the post-event review also.

Not a bad plan? A better plan might be one with an arrest strategy that minimized the risk of innocent people being shot, disbled, and rendered unable to work their lifelong trade. That is if you don't think people with no charges, warrants or record who are peaceably sleeping in their own homes deserve that sort of thing.

Maybe you don't care as long as it's not you.

Yes then, the local court services recommendation for home based detention and keeping this violent kid in the community certainly should be reviewed. Normal kids do not shoot up the interstate highway system. Most normal families know where their kid is in the middle of the night. Sure, the parents want him out of jail. Other citizens want him locked up.

Absolutely the community wants these kids locked up. They are locked up. It is good that police arrested the kids who shot cars and a building and posed a danger to innocent people.

It is bad that the police strategy resulted in the shooting of an innocent man.

Is there a reason that the community shouldn't just consider whether better strategic decisions might avoid future shootings of innocent citizens?

Jolted, the court services recommendation was incarceration in the Albemarle Juvenile Detention Center, not home based. I never saw anybody recommend not locking 'em up.

Does the local juvenile system believe it has a "better" system than the state system? If so, let us here about it all.......

Jolted: You amuse me. Did you have any facts to rebut my statements or did you just want to rely on your lame claim that I like to whine? LOL

Cletus, You make light of/dismiss the harm in little kids watching dad blast Bambi's face. It is known that when kids witness violence toward animals, they often become violent toward people and animals too.
You seem to think you "know it all". Oh well, have fun as you WHINE in your own little way. We're all laughing too.

teacher #9: I used to watch bambi being shot all the time as a kid. I've gone on many hunting trips(with troopers from the Virginia State Police and assorted Deputies from various counties) as a child. They were great fun and I learned to be self sufficient at an early age. I routinely carried an automatic weapon or a shotgun while I worked in federal law enforcement and I've never accidenttly discharged a firearm and never shot anyone. I certainly had ample opportunity to do so. It was never necessary and had I been of the mind set that you imply I certainly would have availed myself of the chance. So, since you only disprove by example I guess we can lay your lame and absurd contention to rest... again. I don't claim to know it all. But I clearly know more than you do and it's evident to the most casual observer that you simply have no clue what you're talking about. You're just a sheltered, lame whiner that wants the world to be cute and cuddly. While that's a fine dream I don't see it coming to fruition anytime in the near future. That is a simple fact. You clearly mistake harvesting an animal with torturing it to death. I have never advocated such a thing. There is a profound difference between harvesting venison to stock your freezer(or the freezer at the food bank and let me tell you those on the receiving end are glad to have it) and torturing the neighbors house cat to death just for kicks. I think it disingenuous and deliberately misleading of you to make the implication. So much for your moral standing. Trying to pull peoples heart strings again? LOL! It's a logical fallacy, by the way, to try and do that. Incidently, I'd like you to explain something to me. Which is crueler? Allowing a population of deer to grow unchecked to the point where they are diseased, short of food, obstacles on the highway (please feel free to contact your favorite insurance company or VDOT for verification) that put drivers lives at risk or to harvest them humanely like crops for the benefit of everyone? You know what the SPCA is? They kill animals you know. Why do they exist? Why not let your kitties and puppies run free and wild? Now, assuming you're a vegetarian or vegan I'd expect you to respond with "I don't eat meat and don't contribute to such cruelty." and that would be wrong. EVERY doctor that walks the earth learned directly or indirectly about his craft through the use of animals. Do you abstain from your doctors care when you break your leg? Do you refrain from using cough syrup when you're sick? Why do you think toxicity experiments on new drugs are necessary? What do you think a "heart shunt" is and where did it come from? Did you not realize you're part of your own problem? The short of it is that unless you are an autotrophic organism (you're not) you MUST kill something in order to continue living. So even if you grow your own food and completely avoid civilized life you have killed a living thing in order to survive. So ...again... for the love of god ... would you please pull your head from your backside and wake up. 1 last thing; when you actually have a rebuttal thats supported by facts or reason(and not a blatant appeal to emotion) you feel free to let me know. Elucidate me; show me where I've erred. You see... you try to change the facts to the way you want things to be. I change my thinking to fit the facts. Your way has been the cause of unimaginable human suffering. Can you say "Galileo"? Can you say "Inquisition"? Those who thought in the manner I advocate invented medicine, discovered particle physics and took us to the moon and mars. So why don't you cast off that sheltered and dim stupidity and jump in with the rest of us for the big win? You don't appear to be very knowledgeable about anything (particularly your immediate surroundings) but it isn't too late to change that. You have a brain the size of a melon. It's really a miracle of evolution. Why not take it out for a spin from time to time? Right now you're just using your brain stem.

Cletus, we know more, because of this: You appear different. WE ARE ALLL LAUGHFING ALL NIGHT long NOW! you are on so pitiful at this time. Why don't you just give your REAL name???? We'll meet you on the MALL and have a debate. What a joke, at this point. Are you man enough to come forward?? We're ready for ya..... :))))))))))))) My guess, you can't cope with such a proposal. No deal UNLESS you come forward,,

Oh my lord! Cletus, are you really ready to take em on? Tell me time place/circumstances.

Ok, we got him! Cletus, we're ready for you, if you can endure.
My guess, won't happen

Teacher, Joc and Jolted: You're right, you win. It is an idiot that argues with fools. So please laugh yourselves silly.

Teacher #9: I do hope that your writing style doesn't mirror your teaching abilities.

I've rarely ever seen such an endless spew of partially-formed thoughts and sentences, muddled grammar, spastic punctuation, and unnecessary capitalizations. It's almost as though your keyboard has chronic diarrhea. Dribble dribble here, spurt spurt there. Is this some sort of performance art, or are you for real?

Do you teach Gym, or possibly Driver's Ed? If you truly are a local public school teacher, and you teach math, history, science, or God forbid, English, then we all must thank heaven for private schools. Perhaps you could find a way to communicate more effectively in the future? I'd suggest taking a 101 level course in basic English before posting again.

School Board, Never fear. I have it covered. Posting takes on a "different form". My written communications within the job are certainly polished. Cletus, I'm concerned for you. You should lighten up! Perhaps take a break.

Teacher #9 has certainly entertained us with ignorant but sensational hyperbole about hunting. Whether vegan or hypocrite, T#9 seems oblivious to the shame and embarrassment that any hunter would suffer if ever so inept as to shoot their prey in the face. Poor people who shoot Bambi in the face, indeed! The fact is that the assertion is baseless and irrelevant.

We have cringed at T#9's immature ad hominem attack, poorly written. I suspect "Teacher #9" may be a mediocre 9th grade student. T#9 dodges debate by calling for a confrontation at the mall and Joc and Jolted, like a couple of schoolyard sidekicks, chime in with "yeahhhh". "Oh, we got him." Please.

None of this has any bearing on the fact that police leadership created a danger to innocents with an unwise strategic decision and a law abiding man is now disabled as a direct result of that.

The community needs to examine this, learn and demand better for our future.

Family Guy, you sound so much like Cletus. Don't you have anything better to do than to pick on teachers? Get a life! The teacher makes some excellent arguments. In fact, more seem to agree with teacher than with you! Your/Cletus' childish ranting is the laugh of the office today. Many are sick of hearing your sad stories about those who broke the law. You/Cletus are losing your argument and looking like a fools in the process. Call the teacher whatever. Teach doesn't appear to be running and hiding as you wish. By the way, you have said the SAME THING too many times. tiring tiring..............

I believe the police did a wonderful job. So grateful the police were not injured. I continue to wonder where the minor picked up the gun. Proper supervision? not

Family Guy: I just want to be clear about this. I don't argue that the police were in the wrong. Neither do I argue that they were in the right. I haven't read the report or spoken with the man who got shot. Police officers have no obligation to put their lives in jeopardy. The 1st rule of law enforcement is "go home alive". I can envision several scenarios: 1) It was late and likely the man was startled. That is a state of mind recognized by the law. If he had no prior knowledge his son was out and about acting like an idiot I can see where that might have been a problem. 2) The officers did a proper job of announcing themselves and were met by a man with a gun. In that case they would be more than justified in responding with deadly force if they felt themselves threatened. The key point is what a lawyer would call "mens rea". It means (loosely) "what is in the mind"; what was his intent. In my opinion the whole thing could have been avoided if they would have called his telephone number and then knocked on the door. Then there would be no doubt as to who they were and why they were there. After such an announcement anyone brandishing a firearm is asking to get shot. So it sounds as though each party could have handled the incident a little better than they did. But that is just speculation on my part. As for T#9, s/he is just a gainsaying twit that wouldn't know a truth functionally valid argument if s/he tripped over it. I'm sure anyone with more than 2 neurons rubbing together can see that plainly. But I do appreciate your kind words. It's refreshing to see that someone understands that argument is an intellectual process and not the automatic negation of anything the other person says. :)

Unless I'm mistaken, I do believe that Teacher, Joc, Jane, and Jolted are the same herd of geriatric cows that challenged the Tibetans and their supporters to a rumble on the mall via the hook website a few months ago. Watch out Sharks and Jets, there's a new gang in town!

It must get very boring in the nursing home. We should just humor the poor things and let them babble amongst themselves.

Cletus, does it really make sense to telephone ahead of time when what you are hoping to do is take into custody one or more people whom you can safely assume to be armed and who are suspected of shooting at occupied vehicles and homes a few nights before? You really want to give them that heads-up? That doesn't seem to be SOP when it comes to apprehending armed and considered dangerous subjects in general.

Oh well! It seems some are touching a nerve. Many of you who "claim or beg" to be viewed as so intelligent, don't appear to possess a lick of common sense. In fact, you are way too funny.
Some in this town are sick and tired of a "liberal" takeover. The lax court system and strange childrearing strategy is taking a toll on the region. Anyone read the local reports to the court? Too much sympathy for lawbreakers? Slaps on the wrist, that is all.
Yep, I think the city fathers should concentrate on their real jobs in the city, and avoid taking on every other cause in the world. Many others seem to agree here.
Get used to it. We will have our say.

Cecil, I agree. Your argument makes more sense. Cletus does not get it, in this case. But he does semm to "know it all". :--))))))))))))))))))))).

I believe school board and cletus appear to be closely related. So What, if these people post opinion. You resort to calling them dumb?? Are you threatened by their expression of opinion? Strange indeed.

Good lord, you think we're related... ? *Sigh*

Okay, I'll try to explain this very clearly so that even you will understand. I do not know anyone named Cletus, or anyone posting under that name. As a matter of fact, I disagree completely with the views Cletus has put forth on this issue. I believe the police acted correctly in their raid on Yonder Hill, and that Mr Dawson's actions caused his own injuries. (Sorry Cletus, but that's my opinion.)

But y'all (Teacher and her sock-puppets) are the biggest bunch of dolts I've ever encountered. Your arguments are just weird, immature, spastic, and ill-informed. You go out of your way to try and bait other posters in a really pathetic grade-school manner. Compare yourselves to Cecil, who has posted an intelligent opinion that can at least hold some water. Cletus and Family Guy can write in complete coherent sentences-- why can't you?

And Teacher #9, what is that bizarre smiley emoticon you put at the end of some of your posts? Is it to indicate pride that you've made an ass of yourself yet again?

school board, looks like you went for the bait and took it in. :-))))) Why don't you give the posting a rest if you can't take it? You're acting as a spoiled brat.
Anyway, Now back to the point, I'll be very interested to see if any adult is charged with allowing a minor to have a gun in this crime. It seems in all fairness to the rule of law, someone should be held accountable.

I love how this article has more entries than most other articles, but yet it didn't make the most popular list. I guess the Hook wants any story where people defend cops to just go away.