A shooting suspect who was chased by police from Harrisonburg north into Shenandoah County was apprehended in Woodstock on Thursday morning.
At around 10 a.m. Thursday, there was a shooting at the Motel 6 on South Main Street in Harrisonburg, according to the Harrisonburg Police Department. The female shooting victim was transported to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville where she was reported in stable condition with serious injuries Thursday evening, police said.
Witnesses to the shooting alerted police that the suspect had left the scene in a U-Haul truck and was traveling north on Main Street, according to police. Police chased the U-Haul driver north on Interstate 81 and then on Route 11 to just north of Woodstock where state police were able to stop him, according to a Harrisonburg Police Department news release.
Umar Burley, 50, of Baltimore, was driving the truck and taken into custody, the release states. Burley was charged with malicious wounding and attempted murder.
The pursuit of the U-Haul truck ended between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m. in front of the Woodstock Equipment Company when a tactical vehicle hit the left rear bumper of the U-Haul truck, said Bobby Funkhouser, a salesperson at the store. He said the hit forced the U-Haul truck to spin out into a ditch.
The U-Haul truck driver then tried to drive off, but the tactical vehicle came around to the front of it and stopped it before the suspect was apprehended, Funkhouser added. Officers at the scene had their weapons drawn, in the form of both pistols and long rifles, but Funkhouser said he never heard a shot.
It was about five minutes from the time of the crash and when the suspect was taken into custody, Funkhouser said. About 20 mins later, the suspect was being treated at an ambulance, Funkhouser said. He said he counted 34 police cars from several different departments in the area where the chase ended.
"It was pretty intense," Funkhouser said.
Shenandoah County's central school campus went into a modified lockdown for about 30 minutes from about 10:20 a.m. to 10:54 a.m. as a precaution during the incident, according to Lori Swortzel, the principal at Central High School. A modified lockdown means no one is allowed to enter or leave the building, but instruction carried on.
This appears to be an isolated incident that remains under investigation and additional charges are pending, Harrisonburg police said.
Anyone with additional information regarding the shooting and the pursuit is encouraged to contact that department's Major Crimes Unit at 540-437-2640. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Solvers at 540-574-5050 or text “HPD” and the tip to CRIMES (274637).