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The Christiansburg man sparked the shootout by first firing at a deputy sheriff, the investigation found.
Robert Kevin Hughes
Friday, June 21, 2013
Police officers were justified in their fatal shooting of a Christiansburg man in April, based on a ruling by Salem Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Bowers.
According to the ruling, made public Friday, Robert Kevin Hughes , 41, fired the first shot when police tried to serve him with a felony drug arrest warrant at his mobile home on Ridgeway Drive in Montgomery County on the outskirts of Christiansburg’s Cambria community. Hughes missed, but three officers then returned fire. An autopsy revealed Hughes had been shot a total of nine times and had 12 wounds as a result, according to the release.
The clash began when officers executed a search warrant at the mobile home on March 29. When police showed up, Hughes reportedly ran away on his ATV 4-wheeler. A search of his home revealed methamphetamine and tools for manufacturing the drug.
Police went back to the mobile home to arrest Hughes on April 10. When they ordered Hughes out of his mobile home, just his girlfriend, Sierra Alderman , came out. According to the release, she told officers their suspect had a small pistol and intended to “go down fighting or kill himself first.”
A short time later Hughes ran out of the trailer wearing a motorcycle helmet. He ran toward his ATV and Montgomery County Deputy Sheriff J.W. Egan. According to the release, Hughes then fired the first shot toward Egan, who fell down and returned fire. Fellow deputy sheriff F.W. Jones and Christiansburg Police Officer J.H. Belcher then also opened fire.
Hughes went to the ground, but when officers approached he reportedly drew his weapon once again. Police then fired additional shots.
None of the officers involved were hurt.
Hughes’ girlfriend and civilian witnesses collaborated the officers’ account of the shootout when Bowers — named as a special prosecutor after Montgomery County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt disqualified herself —investigated the incident.
Bowers ruled the “use of deadly force was justified and appropriate.”
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