~ PVN staff report
STANLEY, March 3 — A few hours before more than 200 people gathered at the Luray VFW for a candlelight vigil on Tuesday evening to remember the life of Stanley Police Officer Dominic “Nick” Winum, the Virginia State Police released a report on the Feb. 26 incident that took his life.
Doug Gochenour, chaplain of the Stanley PD, delivered a one-hour address to a large crowd huddled in front of the Luray VFW Post in 34-degree weather on Tuesday evening. He quoted scripture, sang songs and spoke of how the life of Officer Winum had touched many in the Stanley community, Page County and beyond — not only as a law enforcement officer, but as an everyday person as well.
Gochenour offered prayers for the family of the fallen officer, but also for the family of the shooter, Dakota G. Richards.
The state police report issued late Tuesday afternoon indicates that Richards had been identified as “a suspicious person with a gun,” but there is no indication of what prompted the fatal attack during a traffic stop on Judy Lane last Friday.
The state police report reads as follows:
The investigations into the fatal shootings that occurred Friday (Feb. 26) in the Town of Stanley remains ongoing by the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Culpeper Field Office.
Town of Stanley Police Officer D.J. “Nick” Winum observed a 2002 Honda Civic that matched the description of a Be On the Lookout issued for a suspicious person with a gun. At approximately 3:15 p.m., Officer Winum activated his marked patrol vehicle’s emergency equipment to initiate a traffic stop. The Honda Civic pulled over in the 600 block of Judy Lane.
Before the officer could exit his patrol vehicle, the driver, Dakota G. Richards, got out of his vehicle and began shooting at Officer Winum’s vehicle. Officer Winum succumbed to his injuries at the scene. Richards, 29, of Stanley, Va., fled into the nearby woods on foot. A handgun was recovered from Richards’ vehicle.
Law enforcement personnel responded to the scene and assisted with tracking Richards. He was later located hiding out in a barn in the 700 block of Marksville Road. There, Richards made a threatening movement and was shot by Page County Sheriff’s Deputies. Richards succumbed to his injuries at the scene. A Smith & Wesson M&P-15 rifle was recovered in his possession.
No additional law enforcement were injured.
Once state police completes the officer-involved shooting, the criminal investigative files will be turned over to the Commonwealth’s Attorney for final review and adjudication.