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Martinsville man charged in connection with officer-involved shooting

A Martinsville man is facing charges after an officer-involved shooting on Saturday, according to the Martinsville Police Department.

Authorities said shortly after 2 p.m., a Martinsville police officer started a traffic stop on Evening Star Lane in Henry County.

When the vehicle stopped detectives said Jonathan Easter, 38, of Ridgeway, who was the front seat passenger, got out of the vehicle with an AR-15-style rifle. Investigators said the officer ordered Mr. Easter to drop the rifle and he did. Easter then ran away on foot.

Police say the officer recognized Easter and knew him to be wanted on several felony charges.

Additional officers began searching the area, according to police. We’re told Easter then stole a Freightliner truck from a parking lot. A second officer encountered Easter driving the truck on Veteran Drive. The private road in this section is only wide enough for one-way traffic.

Police said Easter then rammed the officer’s vehicle head-on and attempted to push the officer’s vehicle out of the way with the truck. The patrol vehicle with the officer inside was pushed backwards greater than 50 yards.

The department said before the officer could be pushed off a steep embankment, the officer fired several shots from his weapon through the windshield of his vehicle into the cab of the truck. Easter was not hit by the gunfire however he did stop the truck at that point. The officer then took Easter into custody.

Jonathan Micheal Easter is being held without bond at the Henry County Adult Detention Center on the prior outstanding warrants of felony elude and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The Martinsville Police Department requested the Virginia State Police to conduct an independent investigation into the incident in accordance with MPD standard procedures.

We’re told the officer who was struck by the truck was treated and released for minor injuries at SOVAH Health Martinsville.

Any additional criminal charges on Easter from the incident will come after the conclusion of the investigation and once the findings are reviewed by the Henry County Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Martinsville Police Chief Robert Fincher stated, “We are all very thankful that no one was seriously injured. This incident is a good example of how our brave law enforcement officers are willing to risk their own lives daily to help protect the safety of our community.”

Source: WSLS News 10

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