Virginia officer shot during “welfare check” has succumbed to injuries, VSP says one man arrested


Downtown Big stone Gap.

BIG STONE GAP, Va. (WRIC/WJHL) — A police officer in the small Southwest Virginia town of Big Stone Gap died on Nov. 13 after being shot in the line of duty.

According to WJHL, Officer Michael Chandler was performing a welfare check on an individual in an empty house around 4 a.m. on Saturday, when he encountered “at least one individual” and was shot.

They report he was found by Wise County Sheriff’s deputies and transported to a local hospital, then airlifted to a hospital in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Chandler died there as a result of his injuries at 7:00 p.m.

WJHL reports that a suspect was apprehended following a large-scale search in the Tenessee city of Kingsport, just South of the border with Virginia.

According to a statement from VSP Public Information Officer Corinne Geller, a Big Stone Gap man is in custody after a large-scale search and investigation by local, state and federal law enforcement following the early morning fatal shooting of a police officer with the Town of Big Stone Gap.

The Kingsport Police Department’s Patrol Division, Criminal Investigations Division and SWAT Team arrested a 33-year-old male not long after 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Travel Inn located on Lynn Garden Drive in Kingsport according to Geller.

According to Commonwealth Attorney Chuck Slemp, no additional details surrounding the case can be released at this time due to the ongoing nature of the case, however, they anticipate that “charges will be placed in the coming days.”

In a statement Sunday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said he was deeply saddened by the news, calling Chandler, “a dedicated public servant, a devoted husband and father, and a trusted member of the Big Stone Gap community.”

The full statement is as follows:

“Pam and I were deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Big Stone Gap police officer Michael Chandler, who was killed yesterday in the line of duty. Mike was a dedicated public servant, a devoted husband and father, and a trusted member of the Big Stone Gap community. Like law enforcement officers across the Commonwealth, he put his life on the line everyday in service to his fellow Virginians. And at only 29 years old, he made the ultimate sacrifice.  

Please join me in sending prayers to his family, fellow officers, and all who loved him. I’m ordering Virginia flags be lowered on the day of his interment, in honor of Michael Chandler’s memory and sacrifice.”

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