Culpeper Woman in Altercation With Police Fatally Shot

Incident happened Thursday morning

Friday, Feb 10, 2012  |  Updated 10:33 PM EDT
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A Culpeper police officer is on administrative leave after a fatal shooting.

Pat Collins

A Culpeper police officer is on administrative leave after a fatal shooting.

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Virginia State Police are investigating the fatal shooting of a motorist by a Culpeper police officer.

State Police say the officer became involved in a physical altercation Thursday morning in which 54-year-old Patricia A. Cook, a retired cosmetologist from Culpeper, was shot and killed.

Culpeper police received a call Thursday for a suspicious person sitting in a Jeep Wrangler, stopped in a church parking lot in the 300 block of North 

East Street about 10 a.m.

The responding officer went to the scene and began questioning Cook, who was sitting in the driver's seat.

According to State Police, the Culpeper officer reached into the Jeep window to retrieve the woman's identification.  Investigators said at that point, Cook rolled the vehicle's window up, trapping the officer's arm, and started driving.

The officer said he repeatedly commanded Cook to stop the vehicle, but she refused.  State Police said that's when he shot her.

The vehicle wrecked on the 200 block of North East Street.

A witness told News4's Pat Collins that's not what happened. He said the officer's arm was not caught in the window. He had his hand on the door handle to try to open it as Cook rolled up the window, the witness said. The officer threatend to shoot if she didn't stop and then fired, the witness said.

Cook died at the scene. Her body was sent to the state medical examiner.

Culpeper police and the Culpeper County Sheriff's Office are assisting in the investigation.

Gary Cook, the victim's husband, said his wife got a traffic ticket in Illinois in 1979, but that's about the extent of her trouble with the law.

"They said there was an altercation, but she didn't get out of the vehicle," Gary Cook said. "She was shot in the vehicle."

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