Route 33 Shooting - 01/25/2007

Reported by NBC29 News
January 25, 2007

A traffic stop in Greene County left one man dead, injured an officer and closed down a major road for hours, causing quite a scare for nearby residents Wednesday night. The incident happened along Route 33 in Greene County near the Woodbridge Subdivision, at around 6:00 p.m.

It began as a routine traffic stop. An officer with the Greene County Sheriff's Department and a Game Warden, Rob Ham, had teamed up for the evening. They pulled over a vehicle that was posted on a lookout list and that traffic stop escalated into a fatal shooting. Game Warden Ham was hit by a car and the driver of the vehicle, 16-year-old Allen Cochran, was shot and killed. Cochran's teenage girlfriend was in the car with him but is expected to be okay.

Game Warden Rob Ham was taken to the University of Virginia emergency room for treatment Wednesday night. His injuries were not life threatening, he was listed in good condition Thursday morning, and he has since been released.

Shortly after his arrival at the University of Virginia Medical Center, it was placed under lockdown for several hours. The connection between the shooting and the hospital lockdown is unclear; a hospital spokesperson says the hospital is put on lockdown whenever there is a perceived threat against patients or hospital staff. That lockdown was lifted shortly after ten Wednesday night.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Virginia State Police released the following press release concerning the incident:

"For Immediate Release
January 25, 2007
Virginia Game Warden Involved in Shooting Incident

Richmond, VA * A game warden with the Law Enforcement Division of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) was assisting deputies with the Greene County Sheriff's Office last night when he was involved in a shooting incident. It is not unusual for game wardens to assist local law enforcement and for those agencies to assist local game wardens.

The game warden was in the Greene County Sheriff's Office when an alert was sent out for an "endangered missing juvenile" female who may have been abducted by a juvenile male who was "possibly armed" and had "made threats to multiple individuals." The alert included information describing the individuals, the vehicle, and their possible destination. The game warden accompanied the deputies to a location along Route 33 at the entrance to the Woodridge subdivision where the suspect was believed to be headed.

The suspect's vehicle approached the intersection and was intercepted by the deputies' vehicles. The game warden had positioned himself to remove the female safely from the passenger side of the vehicle when the driver accelerated and struck him with the vehicle. The game warden discharged his firearm striking the suspect.

The suspect died at the scene. His body is being transported to the Medical Examiner's Office in Richmond. The game warden was transported to the University of Virginia Medical Center where he was treated and has since been released.

The incident is being investigated by the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The game warden has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the completion of that investigation.

Virginia game wardens have full police authority but focus on enforcing the Commonwealth's wildlife and boating laws.  Typically, one game warden is assigned to work a county or city, but in some cases there may be more than one assigned to a jurisdiction depending on the needs of that community. Game wardens provide back up and assist wardens assigned to adjacent counties within their work area. Frequently, game wardens work with local law enforcement providing support for manhunts, search and rescue, and other enforcement efforts."

We will bring you additional details on NBC29 and NBC29.com as they become available.