Stanley police say a five-year veteran of the force was killed Friday afternoon during a traffic stop in the town.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the town’s chief said Officer Dominic “Nick” Winum, 48, died in the line of duty.
“Since joining our department in 2016, he proudly served and protected the Stanley community,” Chief Ryan Dean said in a statement. “I know the Stanley and Page County community are keeping Nick and his family in their prayers during this most difficult and tragic time.”
The Page County Sheriff’s Office also issued a statement on its Facebook page: “We have no words. Please pray for the family of our fallen brother, the Stanley Police Department, and our law enforcement family.”
The shooting occurred about 3:30 p.m.
According to the Virginia State Police, Winum stopped the suspect, identified as Dakota G. Richards, 29, of Stanley, in the 600 block of Judy Lane. Before Winum exited his patrol car, the driver got out of his vehicle and opened fire, according to police. Winum died at the scene.
According to state police, law enforcement personnel responded to the scene and assisted with tracking Richards, who fled into nearby woods. He was later located hiding in a barn in the 700 block of Marksville Road. There, Richards made a threatening movement and was shot by Page County Sheriff's Deputies, police say.
State police said Richard died of his injuries and his body will be sent to the Office of Medical Examiner.
Several police departments across the Shenandoah Valley responded to the scene, including the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office, Luray Police Department, Page County Sheriff's Office and Warren County Sheriff’s Office.
The Virginia State Police is leading the investigation. According to the state police, Winum served as a trooper until 2016.
Friday’s shooting of an officer was the second in the valley in the last four months.
In November, Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office deputy Cpl. Patrick Tate, who was working part-time for the Broadway Police Department, was shot four times during a traffic stop. He survived and continues to recover from his injuries.