Culpeper Police Fatally Shoot Driver Who ‘Presented Deadly Threat'

A man who police say was a domestic violence suspect with a shotgun was shot and killed by at least one Culpeper County sheriff's deputy late Monday after police say the man fled an attempted traffic stop and then "presented a deadly threat."

Eric Wesley Clark died after being shot in rural Boston, Virginia, at Sperryville Pike (Route 522) and Griffinsburg Road, Virginia State Police said. He was 43.

The circumstances of the shooting are under investigation by Virginia State Police.

Sheriff's deputies began looking for Clark about 10 p.m. Monday. The office received a 911 call reporting a domestic assault at a home. Clark, of Culpeper, left the home, and a description of his car was given to police.

A deputy spotted the car about 11 p.m. and turned on his emergency lights to pull over the driver. But Clark refused to stop, police said, and a chase began.

Two other deputies joined the chase, which lasted for several minutes.

Finally, police were able to stop Clark.

"The driver of the vehicle presented a deadly threat to the deputies and they responded by shooting and killing the driver," the Culpeper County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post early Tuesday.

In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, state police did not elaborate on the circumstances.

"During the subsequent encounter between Clark and the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Deputies, Clark was shot," the statement said.

Neighbor June Szeider said she heard the shots.

"I just heard a pop, pop, pop, pop, and I knew instantly that that was a handgun," she said.

"I heard somebody saying 'several gunshot wounds.' I heard what sounded like a person in distress," she continued.

Clark died at the scene, and his shotgun was recovered there, state police said. No information was released on whether Clark threatened anyone with the gun. 

Sheriff Scott Jenkins said on Facebook: "I'm so grateful that our deputies are safe. I'm deeply saddened by what they were forced to do and pray for comfort for everyone affected by this incident."

Culpeper deputies do not have body cameras. Only some of their cruisers are equipped with cameras. 

The three deputies involved in the shooting were placed on modified duty during the investigation. The sheriff's office said their names would not be released immediately.

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