A state police patrol vehicle was shot at prior to the high-speed chase of a shooting suspect that ended near Woodstock on Thursday.
State police Sgt. Brent Coffey states in an email on Friday that Harrisonburg police issued a “be on the lookout” bulletin at around 9:50 a.m. Thursday for a suspect involved in a shooting they had responded to that morning in the city.
Around 10 a.m., Coffey states, a state trooper saw the suspect's vehicle, a rental box truck, traveling north on Interstate 81 at the 254-mile marker in Rockingham County. The trooper pulled up to the truck and the driver shot out the patrol vehicle's back window.
A chase ensued, and Coffey states the suspect's vehicle rammed several police vehicles as well as sideswiped a van traveling on Route 11. No injuries were reported from those collisions.
At speeds between 60 and 75 miles per hour, the pursuit continued north on Route 11, Coffey states. The chase ended near Woodstock when state police vehicles forced the suspect to stop on the south shoulder of the road in the 22,000 block of Route 11.
Harrisonburg police on Thursday identified the driver as Umar Burley, 50, of Baltimore, who was wanted for a shooting of an unidentified female at the Motel 6 on South Main Street in Harrisonburg.
The shooting victim was flown to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville and was reported in stable condition with serious injuries on Thursday evening.
Coffey noted that a firearm was recovered by state police at the scene.
Burley was held in the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail on Thursday and then sent to the Rockingham/Harrisonburg County Jail, where he is being held without bond. He appeared in the Harrsionburg/Rockhingam Juvenile Domestic Relations Court on Friday for a bond hearing on two malicious wounding charges, according to the Clerk's Office there.
Harrisonburg police stated in a news release Thursday that Burley also had been charged with malicious wounding and attempted murder. State police charges are pending in Rockingham and Shenandoah counties.
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 on Thursday.
The pursuit ended in front of the Woodstock Equipment Company, Bobby Funkhouser, a salesperson at the store, told the Northern Virginia Daily on Thursday.
Funkhouser said he counted 34 police vehicles from several departments at the scene.
Strasburg Police Chief Wayne Sager said his officers were at firearms training in the Woodstock area and heard about the chase over radios. With reports of shots being fired at officers, he said his officers responded without hesitation until the suspect was apprehended. None of his officers were injured and no vehicles were damaged, he said.
Shenandoah County's central school campus went into a modified lockdown during the incident - no one was allowed to enter or leave the schools but instruction continued, Central High School Principal Lori Swortzel said Thursday.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Burley recently received a nearly $8 million settlement from the City of Baltimore in the Gun Trace Task Force police scandal. The newspaper reports that Burley had served seven years in prison after officers had planted drugs in his car.
Anyone with additional information regarding the shooting and the pursuit is encouraged to contact the Harrisonburg Police Department 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).