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Posted October 2, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

Report shows high alcohol level in man shot by police

Commonwealth's attorney had earlier determined four officers had acted properly in confrontation

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

A state toxicology report has concluded that a man who died from gunshots fired by law enforcement officers in Woodstock in late July had a high level of alcohol in his blood at the time of the confrontation.

Shenandoah County Commonwealth's Attorney Amanda Wiseley said Tuesday that the report showed William Henry Long died with a blood alcohol concentration of .14, well above the .08 limit that would be needed to convict someone of drunk driving.

Long, 34, of Woodstock, died after slashing Deputy Tom Frazier across the neck with a knife on the front porch of 330 Shaffer St. late on the night of July 20. Frazier fired two shots that killed Long after Frazier and three Woodstock officers had struggled unsuccessfully to subdue him, according to authorities.

Frazier and the three Woodstock officers confronted Long after being called to answer a complaint about a man with a knife at the Shaffer Street address.

Wisely had earlier determined that all four had acted properly in the confrontation after repeatedly telling Long to drop the knife. Frazier was treated at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital for a long cut across his neck that required several stitches to close, according to Wiseley.

A Woodstock officer, Heath Painter, was also cut on the arm and another officer, Matt Rhodes, suffered hearing damage when Frazier fired his gun at Long, according to authorities.

The struggle with Long included unsuccessful attempts to stop him with Tasers, according to a state police investigation conducted in the aftermath of the shooting.

Wiseley said the results of the toxicology report and an autopsy report she received from the state medical examiner's office, both of which she received last week, were what she had expected. She said there was no indication that Long had consumed any alcohol at the Shaffer Street address.

The autopsy showed that Long died from two gunshots to the neck and upper chest, she said.

Autopsy and toxicology reports, "sometimes surprise you, but this was not one of them," Wiseley said.

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