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Man stabbed in struggle

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State police special agent Eric Deel, left, and special agent Mark Defilippi, right, prepare to enter the crime scene inside this residence at 941 E. Washington St. in Strasburg after an early morning stabbing involving a town police officer left a Front Royal man dead. Rich Cooley/Daily

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Related Links Read press release about this incident

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State police special agent Kevin Newland walks outside the perimeter of the Strasburg home where a Front Royal man died Tuesday morning. Rich Cooley/Daily

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State police 1st Sgt Wayne Sumner, left, chats with special agents Eric Deel, center, and Mark Defilippi outside 941 E. Washington St. in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

A story published Wednesday should have identified a man who died after a reported altercation with a Strasburg police officer as Donald G. Beaty, 41, of Front Royal.

Police officer found knife-wielding suspect threatening ex-girlfriend

By Preston Knight - pknight@nvdaily.com

STRASBURG -- A Front Royal man died after an altercation with a Strasburg police officer who responded to a report of an attempted break-in and found the man threatening his ex-girlfriend with a knife early Tuesday.

Donald G. Beaty, 41, of Catlett Mountain Road, was pronounced dead at Winchester Medical Center, where he had been taken for treatment of a knife wound to his chest, according to a Strasburg Police Department news release. He received his fatal injury after a "struggle" with the police officer at 941 E. Washington St., where Beaty was accused of trying to break in about 2:30 a.m.

The officer, who has not been identified, has been placed on paid administrative leave while state police investigate, the release states.

Beaty's ex-girlfriend, Angela Ladd, called police at 2:38 a.m. to report the man's presence on her back porch.

"Ms. Ladd was called earlier by the ex-boyfriend's family and warned that he may be on the way to her residence," the release states.

The officer arrived at 2:40 a.m. and approached the front door, where a fight between Ladd and Beaty was taking place. Beaty was blocking the door, the release states, sending the officer to the back to get inside.

"The officer entered hearing the victim screaming for help," it states. "According to the officer, the victim was on the floor and suspect was on top of her wielding a knife.

Because he was so close to Ladd, the officer could not use his weapon, at which point the struggle between him and Beaty took place until the man was detained. The officer and Ladd were not hurt, the release states.

State police spokesman Sgt. F.L. "Les" Tyler said the information contained in the press release was the extent of what would be released to the public.

At the scene shortly after noon, Ladd declined to comment, saying only that she was still in the process of cleaning her house. Law enforcement had already left the neighborhood.

Ladd was at her house with her two sons, 12 and 19, at the time of the incident, the release states. Neighbors said they did not know anyone involved. Some of them were awakened by the commotion -- a "bang, bang," said Rose, a neighbor who wanted to give only her first name. The noise may have been Beaty's attempt to get into Ladd's back door.

Rose said she looked out of her window to see someone, presumably the police officer, pointing a gun toward Ladd's house.

"I thought, 'Oh my God,'" Rose said.

Another neighbor used the same expression.

"Oh my God, I've never seen so many blue lights," John Locke said.

His girlfriend, Teresa Gochenour, as well as other neighbors, said the area seldom has brushes with law enforcement. About a year ago, a dog got loose and police were scouring the area for it, and she said that's all she's encountered.

"When you see the cops in this area," said Gochenour, 51, "you know something's wrong."

A message for Beaty's mother was not returned Tuesday afternoon. Online records for area circuit and general district courts do not list him as having any violent criminal history, although those do not include any possible charges that would exist in domestic relations courts.


A single officer should not have to respond to a domestic call alone. The two parties engaged in a dispute need to be separated. Hard to do with just one officer. Even so, an officer carries mace and a baton.

You're right, no officer should go to a domestic alone, and I'm sure there were other officers on the way. My impression from the article is that the un-named officer likely saved the victim's life by entering alone instead of waiting for other officers.

This does not sound like an everyday domestic, it is 2:30 AM and a door was forced open by an armed man. I am glad he did not wait for other officers, a few more seconds could have been the difference in life or death. Tragic as it is, thank God no one else was hurt. I praise anyone who would risk their life to save someone else; then they have to be second guessed on this site. It is quite possible he/she did not have time to do anything other than pull the assailant off to protect the victim. The article says the officer could use his weapon.

I hope they can solve this stabbing murder case better then they did the 1998 murder on Charles Street.

I think it would be hard to speculate on the shoulds and should nots, particularly since we don't know the details of the situation. There well could have been another officer responding, but hearing the cries of the victim the first responding officer moved in. Maybe budget cuts limited the number of officers on duty. Maybe the responding officer was the only one responding - we just don't know enough to start pointing fingers.

I agree completly. There was not much info. to start pointing fingers at our police officers. I think they do a wonderful job for our town.


I had worked in the DV And SA programs for over 14 years.I will continue my loyalty to educating to prevent such tragedies. I recently lost my position because of budgets. If you haven't ever heard the other end of a hotline call you can not judge whether mace or a baton could have stopped such a crime of injustice. There are not minutes to make a decision. You are lucky to have seconds. The next time you pick up a paper or watch the news and they talk about budget cuts for domestics remember this. I so remember the face of a young girl who lost her life never to be solved and a grandchild never to be seen again.The police officer had to make a choice. This time a life was saved.Research how many aren't saved every minute of everyday.Please never ignore the sound of violence.Pick the phone up. The cycle can never be broken unless we all have a consequence. I was always taught better to be safe than sorry. I will practice that as long as I live. I commend you for saving a life while risking your own.


I recently lost my job after 14 years in a Domestic Violence Program because of budget cuts. We can not question whether mace or anything else would have been a better choice. If you have never been on the other end of a call you don't have minutes you are lucky if you have seconds. When you pick up a paper or listen to the news about domestic cuts remember this case, or if you knew the young girl who lived on Charles St. An unsolved case and a grandchild never to hold again. Everyone lives in a world of technology. I urge you to look at the statistics of every case of ever minute in a day that a form of abuse happens. I commend this officer for having the sense to know there was no time to make a choice. I may have lost my job, but I will continue to to find a way to educate and break the cycle. If you hear a scream in the night leave by the old saying pick up your phone it is better to be safe than sorry. One life saved today lets pray for all the others who still live the threat everyday.


i dont think anyone on here should try to second guess someone who has to make a split second decision when a life is at stake.better do their couch quaterbacking on football and leave things like this to the professional officers.


As a victim of domestic violence and stalking, I know from experience how these things can escalate so fast. The victim is very lucky to have survived the attack. I'm glad the officer was able to save her.

So Passionate Patriot, sounds like you have plenty of experience with police work. Hope that you are not found in an unkind situation where you need the police to intervene to save your life. Hope that you can sweet talk your assailant to delay his attack so that the single officer who responds to the call can wait for his back up to arrive and choose his weapon before properly intervening. It is so easy to second guess what to do in a split second instead of thanking an officer for risking their life to protect others from evil. And as for you justlilme, there is no comparison to this incident from the 1998 incident. I am very thankful for the police and rescue workers out there who risk their lives every day to serve and protect. So for the officer who thought quickly on his feet….much thanks to you!

That's apples and oranges.

I didn't make a comparison, I was just simply stating that I hope this case gets solved unlike the 1998 one, which from the article, this one is going to be solved because of the investigation. And I never said anything about not being grateful for the police and rescue workers as my husnand is a volunteer firefighter and my brother having served 2 tours in Iraq so I am grateful for those who protect.

How can you say that it's apples and oranges, how do you know that the 1998 case wasn't about domestic violance, do you know any of the detail to that case???

Some of you take the position that I don't know what I would do until the situation arose. That's a given. Who does? On more than one occasion I was the first to arrive and waiting for backup wasn't an option. Two officers responding at the same time was the best case scenario. A town that only has one officer on duty at any given time is putting that officer and the public in jeopardy.
I didn't say I expected the officer to ring the doorbell and wait and I didn't say he used excessive force. Deadly force, more like self-defense, may have been one officers' only alternative.
I carry a badge but I don't expect it to stop anyone bent on doing me harm. It was earned and I was presented with it upon retirement.
I am well protected at home and away but someone could possibly catch me off-guard.

Passionate Patriot, respectfully you say that you took it upon yourself to respond to a call as a single officer, but yet you criticize your own fellow officers. It is not true that we really don’t know all the details or facts to this case because it was not disclosed? I think I am more shocked that you as a retired officer would criticize your fellow officers without all the details.

Justlilme, the difference in this case is the suspect was killed at the scene and everyone lived except him. If not for the response of the PD it very well could have been a similar situation as 12 years ago. Again, thank God everyone else is alright, and thank God we have officers willing to risk their life for us.

PS- I meant to say in my earlier response that the officer could not use his weapon.

You said, "I hope they can solve this stabbing murder case better then they did the 1998 murder on Charles Street." That murder remains unsolved and they never found the baby so "better than they did in 1998" makes no sense. I think the point you were trying to make is questioning the police department's ability to solve a murder. In this story, the suspect is dead. That is why I said it's apples and oranges. This is a open and shut case, unlike Sylena's And yes, I knew her and her family. I still remember her dad wondering, "only if dogs could talk."

Since you seem to have appointed yourself critic of other posters without all the details, tell me how I handled a situation when I was the first on the scene. A knife-wielding assailant justified deadly force. I have a gun and he has a knife and won't drop it, he loses. Yeah hitting him with a baton with force enough to break a car's windshiled may not have done the trick.
The article 'now' says when the officer responded the couple were in a fight at the front door and that the assailant was blocking the door. When the officer entered the back door he found the two on the floor with the assailant wielding a knife. Someone on the floor should not get the jump on an officer on his feet.
Now, since we don't have all the details I guess neither of us would make good jurors in the case. Sorry I rattled your cage.

You know what I just dont UNDERSTAND this for real......I know several people who have commented on this article ...for it not to be published.....People who love and miss Donnie and who know the REAL true side of Donnie. Why do they get to pick and choose what comments they post because Donnie was NOT a monster like he is being made out to be. He was a wonderful, loving and caring person NOT a monster.

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