Colonial Heights officer's firearm use in traffic stop ruled justified

Colonial Heights officer's firearm use in traffic stop ruled justified

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA (WWBT) - A Colonial Heights police officer's use of force during a traffic stop in August 2014 was ruled justified, after a joint investigation by Colonial Heights police and the Virginia State Police.

At around 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 24, 2014, Master Officer Greg Thinnes of the Colonial Heights Police Department tried to stop a vehicle that was speeding. According to police, the driver, Melissa Alexander, did not comply with the officer's signals for her to stop.

Finally stopped near the end of Yacht Basin Drive, Alexander, 44, of Jackson, SC, then refused to show Thinnes her hands, even after repeated demands. According to police, Alexander got out of her vehicle and pointed a handgun at Thinnes. Thinnes determined Alexander posed a visible threat to him. Police said Thinnes fired his weapon at Alexander, fearing for his safety. Alexander was treated for injuries at VCU Medical Center, then released to Riverside Regional Jail.

Colonial Heights Commonwealth's Attorney William Bray said in a statement, "The Virginia State Police investigated the shooting and turned their findings over to my office for review. After evaluating all the evidence, I determined that Officer Thinnes reacted lawfully and according to his training."

Charges are still pending against Alexander, but she is initially charged with attempted capital Murder, use of a firearm in the attempted murder, felony assault of a law enforcement officer, attempting to elude police and reckless handling of a firearm.

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