Authorities ‘acted appropriately’ in fatal 2021 Bedford Co. shooting, Commonwealth prosecutor says
BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) – More than eight months after a woman was fatally shot by authorities following an overnight standoff at a Bedford County home, the Bedford County Commonwealth Prosecutor has shared new details about the incident, as well as his decision not to charge the law enforcement officers involved.
According to Virginia State Police, the incident began around 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 6, 2021 when a Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) conservation officer attempted to arrest a motorcyclist who was not wearing a helmet and no didn’t have a license plate. attach.
When the Conservation Police officer activated his vehicle’s emergency lights and sirens, the motorcyclist refused to stop and continued to a house in the 100 block of Afton Lane in Goodview, according to the authorities. The motorcyclist stopped in front of the house and went inside.
The DWR officer tried to get in touch with the woman – identified as Chelsae L. Clevenger-Kirk of Goodview – but officials say he was unable to get a response. Then, as he was returning to his patrol car, he heard gunshots inside the house.
Members of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police were reportedly called to the scene and spent several hours trying to negotiate a peaceful resolution with the woman, but she began setting fires inside the house.
Then, around 1 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 7, Virginia State Police said Clevenger-Kirk came out of the house and was armed with a handgun, so Bedford County deputies and the conservation police officer fired their guns, killing Clevenger-Kirk.
Clevenger-Kirk’s brother told WFXR News that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after experiencing several traumatic events in her life.
Several months later, on Monday, July 18, Bedford County Attorney Wes Nance announced that it was his office’s final determination that “officers acted appropriately and with justifiable use of lethal force against Chelsae Kirk on November 7, 2021. There will be no charges brought against any officer for acts committed in the line of duty on that date.
You can read Nance’s full statement below, which includes new information about the circumstances surrounding the shooting and Clevenger-Kirk’s behavior:
Nance also included the following addendum at the end of his statement:
Law enforcement’s interaction with the mentally ill too often results in injury or death. Although the use of force in this case was justified under Virginia law, that does not mean that such cases should not be investigated and learned from. It is essential to invest in new tactics, training and education to increase the likelihood of non-lethal outcomes for such encounters. Especially in cases where the disturbed individual is armed or likely to be armed, this task will be systematically entrusted to law enforcement. Thus, it is incumbent on legislators and other stakeholders to assist, equip, and prepare law enforcement with the latest training and techniques to enable peaceful resolutions to mental health crises.
W. Wesley Nance, Commonwealth Attorney for Bedford County