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Charlottesville Police Investigate Officer-Involved Shooting - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Charlottesville Police Investigate Officer-Involved Shooting

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Charlottesville police are investigating an officer-involved shooting near the downtown mall that sent two men to the hospital Saturday morning.    

The shooting happened in the 100 block of 2nd Street near the Elks Lodge (I.B.P.O.E. of W. Rivanna #195) shortly before 1 a.m.  A witness told police one man shot another man and as the shooter approached the victim, ready to fire again, an officer intervened. 

"The witness further advised that while the man was down, the shooter approached with the gun lowered, as if he was going to fire again," Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo stated. "Meanwhile the witness observed the officer arrive on the scene, dismount from a bicycle and move in the direction of the shooter. And while the witness did not actually see the officer fire his weapon, he did report hearing gun shots."    

The shots came from Officer Alex Bruner, leaving the suspect injured.  The shooter and the victim were taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center with gunshot wounds to the torso. There is no word on their condition at this time.

Charlottesville police are now conducting a criminal investigation into the shooting.  They are conducting interviews to determine whether Bruner, a 4 year veteran of the force, acted under the laws of the commonwealth.

Chief Longo said all police-involved shootings begin as criminal investigations conducted by the General Investigation Bureau, with close oversight by the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office. Once the criminal investigation has been completed, the department will begin an administrative investigation.

"The criminal investigation focuses, as you know, on whether the laws of the commonwealth have been violated by the officer's actions.  The administrative investigation is much broader than that and really focuses on those policy, training and procedure questions that are necessary for us to get to once the criminal investigation has concluded," she stated.

Officer Bruner has been placed on administrative leave with pay and will remain on leave until the investigation has been completed.    

Chief Tim Longo says investigations like this are tragic for everyone involved. 

"They're tragic for the individuals the citizens that are involved, they're tragic for the people who witness these events, and frankly they're tragic for the police officers who make decisions that - in very rapid circumstances - that walk with them for the rest of their lives," he stated.    

People who work at neighboring businesses say chaos outside the Elks Lodge isn't new. 

Joann Dunkle of Fellini's stated, "Every Friday it happens in front of our door and just down the street.  If a bullet came through the window and injured one of our workers or customers, that's the thing that bothers me the most." 

Sigrid Eilertson of the Fire Fish Gallery stated, "As shopkeepers we don't know what to do, we don't feel safe, we don't feel our staff is safe." 

Police are asking anyone who witnessed what happened to come forward, like the witness who has already shined a light on the investigation. 

Longo stated, "I hope that there were a lot of people on the street last night and there were a lot of people on 2nd  Street northwest prior to this event occurring, while this event occurred, and after this event took place.  And I'm hoping, like this good citizen, that one or all of these people will come forward and say here's what we saw and here's what we know."   

Police ask you to call either 434-970-3280 or 434-977-9041 if you have any information on the shooting.

The identities of the men involved in the shooting have not been released yet.

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