VA Police Chief Ambushed When Responding To A Call

Steve Pomper

A Virginia police chief and one of his officers are fortunate to be alive after a suspect allegedly ambushed Norton Police Chief James Lane as he drove into a parking lot to investigate a reported minor crime.

NBC 12 News reported, on May 7th, 2021, at about 4:10 p.m., Chief Lane responded to a report of a shoplifter at a business in the 600 block of Commonwealth Drive. When the suspect saw Chief Lane drive into the parking lot, he allegedly opened fire, shooting the chief before he could get out of his car.

Wounded, the chief managed to return fire, assisted by another Norton officer who’d just arrived. Authorities said a State Police Med-Flight helicopter transported Chief Lane to the Johnson City Medical Center to treat what officials described as serious injuries. WCYB 5 News announced the chief had suffered two gunshot wounds. Investigators recovered a handgun at the scene allegedly belonging to the suspect.

The man Virginia State Police has named as a suspect, James Dyer Buckland, a 36-year-old man from Pound, VA., was struck by police gunfire during the incident. Buckland was also transported to the Johnson City Medical Center with serious injuries.

The Commonwealth has charged Buckland with being a felon in possession of a firearm, using a firearm to commit a felony, and “attempted capital murder of a police officer.”

Wise County Sheriff Grant Kilgore told WJHL 11 News, “There were several units on the scene very quickly, helping secure the scene, helping provide first aid to both people that were shot, so with the tourniquets and things like that to stop the bleeding [until] rescue got here and they were transported.”

Norton Mayor Joseph Fawbush said, “I, like most of the community members, were in shock and disbelief that something like this could happen in our community,” according to WJHL. The mayor noted “an outpouring of support” from the public and law enforcement agencies throughout the region. Mayor Fawbush also praised his city’s first responders for their efficient response and the commonwealth’s attorney for quickly issuing arrest warrants, so the suspect would not be released.

The Norton Police Department has requested the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Chuck Clemp, Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney, investigate the incident.

On May 14, 2021, Police Chief James Lanes was discharged from the hospital.

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