Police ID man who died during pursuit
WINCHESTER – Virginia State Police have identified the man who died during a police pursuit in Winchester on Sunday.
D’Londre Tyrell Minifield, 20, of Winchester, was found dead after a foot pursuit by Winchester police at around 4:05 p.m. Sunday. Police were called to the 2200 block of Roosevelt Boulevard to investigate a fight involving a possible firearm, according to a news release from state police Sgt. F.L. (Les) Tyler.
“Officers responded to the 2200 block of Roosevelt Boulevard. Upon arriving at the scene, officers made contact with two male individuals. One of the individuals fled on foot, and officer pursued,” the release states. “The individual stopped, and as officers approached, he discharged a firearm. The individual died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. No law enforcement personnel discharged a firearm during the incident.”
The state police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Culpeper Field Office is investigating the shooting at the request of the Winchester Police Department. State police investigations are a normal procedure when someone dies during an encounter with sheriff’s deputies or local police.
The release notes that Minifield’s body has been sent to the medical examiner in Manassas for examination and an autopsy.
Minifield’s death sparked a protest Monday afternoon over the lack of information from authorities and suspicions that he died at the hands of police.
Minifield’s mother, Jacqueline Minifield, of Petersburg, tearfully described her frustration at learning about her son’s death through social media. She called police but was told no information would be made available to her, she said.
“I just want to know what happened,” Minifield sobbed. “I just want to know why he’s dead.”
A crowd of demonstrators gathered behind her at a park across the street from the Timbrook Public Safety Building. Some chanted and shouted out calls for justice and criticized police handling of the investigation. Police estimated the size of the gathering at 100.
Sgt. Frank Myrtle, a spokesman for the Winchester police, said his agency would have no comment on the incident and referred reporters to the state police.
“Basically, to maintain an environment of openness and transparency, that’s why the police department contacted the state police,” Myrtle said.
Myrtle said that it has been more than five years since state police were called to investigate a death involving city police.
Tyler said the chase lasted “only a couple of blocks and only a few minutes.”
Jacqueline Minifield said she had spoken to a witness at the shooting scene who told her that D’Londre Minifield was not involved in the fight that led to the police call. She said her son had arrived at the scene with another male, and both were trying to see who was fighting as police arrived.
“Just like a black kid, they all ran,” Minifield said in an apparent reference to the apprehension felt by many young black men when they see police approaching them.
Asked about Minifield’s comments, Tyler replied, “There’s some version of that that may have occurred. The original call was for a fight, some sort of disturbance. The officers came upon the scene, and they approached these two gentlemen and one of the gentlemen fled on foot.”
Minifield said her son was interested in becoming a dental hygienist. She said she had last seen him two weeks ago when he visited her in Petersburg. He had not shown any signs of being suicidal.
Minifield said she had moved her son to Winchester a few years ago in an effort to get him away from unsafe and crime-ridden areas of Petersburg.
“I brought him up here,” Minifield said. “He’s still dead. He was supposed to be safe here.”
Myrtle said in a written statement that the protesters moved around the downtown and blocked several streets. State police, the Winchester Sheriff’s Office, Fairfax County police and Frederick County Sheriff’s Office shut down several streets until the crowds dissipated at about 7:30 p.m.
“While much of the protest was peaceful and lawful, there were moments in which protesters disrupted vehicle traffic,” Myrtle said.
Tyler said anyone with information about the case should call the state police at 829-7771.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org