PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – A Chesapeake man has been charged with attempted murder after State Senator Louise Lucas said he tried to hit her with his SUV.
James Taliaferro, 40, was a former employee at Lucas Lodge in Portsmouth. It provides housing and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and is run by Lucas, of Portsmouth, and her daughter, Portsmouth Council Member Lisa Lucas-Burke.
Taliaferro is also charged with smashing the front door of Lucas Lodge in the early morning hours of Monday. The alleged attempt on Lucas’s life happened Tuesday, about three blocks away.
Surveillance video from Lucas Lodge shows a dark Ford SUV smashing through the entrance of the lodge, and police say Taliaferro confessed to being the driver.
The following day, Senator Lucas recognized the vehicle sitting across from the Lodge’s parking lot. She and another daughter followed the vehicle to a nearby Family Dollar, and found it parked in the parking lot.
According to Lucas-Burke, her mother got out and began taking photos of the SUV. At that moment, Taliaferro spotted Senator Lucas, and her daughter says he tried to run her mother over in the store parking lot.
Police have charged Taliaferro with attempted murder, several property crimes, and failure to obey their commands Wednesday when they arrested him. He has a court date in Portsmouth March 23.
Lucas-Burke says Lucas Lodge terminated Taliaferro about a year ago when he failed a background test. She says the check revealed what’s known as a barrier crime, which would prevent him from working with people with intellectual disabilities, but she did not have details on the nature of that crime.
Police say following the damage to Lucas Lodge, Taliaferro left two blank personal checks at the senator’s home in an apparent attempt to make restitution.
Lucas-Burke says her mother was shaken but otherwise OK, and the family is concerned and puzzled, because they have kept in touch with Taliaferro even after he left Lucas Lodge.
“We considered him a friend,” she said. “I helped him with the paperwork of his 401K this past December. He sent a nice Christmas card. We’re just trying to figure out where all of this came from.”