Download the WLNI App

Crime and Public Safety

1 2 3 39

Photo: BCSO

A Vinton-area woman is charged with stealing funds from the Christian school where she worked. The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office says the investigation started in December when Mineral Springs Christian School reported a possible embezzlement. That led to the arrest this week of 44-year-old Christi Gray on eight felony counts. There is no word on how much money may be involved.

NEWS RELEASE: On December 12, 2019, the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office received a report from the Mineral Springs Christian School reference to a possible embezzlement.

On January 22, 2020 after an intensive investigation, Christi Gray, age 44, of Vinton was arrested and charged with four counts of Felony Embezzlement and four counts of Felony Obtain Money by False Pretenses. She was released on an unsecured bond. At the time of the crimes, Gray was employed by the school.

The investigation continues into this case.

Photo: RCMP

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — A former Canadian Armed Forces reservist plotted with other members of a white supremacist group to carry out “essentially a paramilitary strike” at a Virginia gun rights rally, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Sullivan agreed to keep Patrik Mathews, 27, detained in federal custody pending a Jan. 30 preliminary hearing.

Mathews leaned back in his chair and quietly laughed when the magistrate read aloud a transcript of a video in which the Canadian national advocated for killing people, poisoning water supplies and derailing trains.

“This is a very dangerous person,” the magistrate said during Mathews’ detention hearing in Maryland. “He espouses very dangerous beliefs.”

Mathews and two other men were arrested last Thursday on federal felony charges in Maryland and Delaware, just days before they were believed to be headed to a pro-gun rally in Virginia’s capital. Federal prosecutors said in a court filing Tuesday that a hidden camera captured the men discussing “the planning of violence” at the rally and expressed hope that bloodshed could start a civil war. Monday’s event had attracted tens of thousands of people and ended peacefully.

“This is a domestic terrorist investigation,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Windom said Wednesday.

Defense attorney Joseph Balter said Mathews may have used “alarming” and “outrageous” language in conversations captured on video at a Delaware home in the days leading up to the rally. But Balter said his client’s statements are protected by the First Amendment as free speech and did not reflect any specific plans for violence.

“One man’s domestic terrorist can be another man’s exercise of his First Amendment rights,” Balter said.

Windom said the men were preparing for a civil war when they packed up food and other supplies that they apparently intended to use during and after the Virginia rally.

“Mr. Mathews was not arrested for violating the First Amendment of the Constitution,” Windom said.

Another man who was arrested, Brian Mark Lemley Jr., waived his right to a detention hearing. A third defendant, William Garfield Bilbrough IV, is expected to appear in court at separate detention hearing Wednesday.

A closed-circuit television camera and microphone installed by investigators in a Delaware home captured Mathews talking about the Virginia rally as a “boundless” opportunity, prosecutors said.

“And the thing is you’ve got tons of guys who … should be radicalized enough to know that all you gotta do is start making things go wrong and if Virginia can spiral out to … full blown civil war,” he said.

Lemley talked about using a thermal imaging scope affixed to his rifle to ambush unsuspecting civilians and police officers, prosecutors said.

“I need to claim my first victim,” Lemley said on Dec. 23, according to Tuesday’s detention memo.

“We could essentially like be literally hunting people,” Mathews said, according to prosecutors. “You could provide overwatch while I get close to do what needs to be done to certain things.”

FBI agents arrested Mathews, Lemley and Bilbrough as part of a broader investigation of The Base. Authorities in Georgia and Wisconsin also arrested four other men linked to the group.

Mathews and Lemley are charged with transporting a firearm and ammunition with intent to commit a felony. Bilbrough is charged with “transporting and harboring aliens.”

Bilbrough’s attorney, Robert Bonsib, said last Thursday that he was “underwhelmed” by a prosecutor’s arguments for keeping his client detained. Bilbrough was the only one of the three men not facing a firearms-related charge.

MGN

Thousands of gun-rights activists from Virginia and from around the country rallied peacefully in Richmond today, protesting plans by the state’s Democratic leadership to pass gun-control legislation. Richmond police now say an estimated 22,000 people showed up – far less than the 50,000 that had been predicted by some. Concerns about violence from possible clashes with gun law supporters were allayed. Proponents of gun control legislation are calling for bills that address issues like universal background checks and red flag laws. The description of who was expected to attend today’s Lobby Day rally in Richmond for gun rights did not sit well with an African American protester who was there in support, as he said in a video that was was posted on the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League Facebook page.

1-20 Rally goer-race-WEB

MGN

(news release) The Supreme Court of Virginia [has] denied a court challenge to Governor Ralph Northam’s decision to temporarily ban firearms on Capitol grounds from 5:00 PM on Friday, January 17, 2020 until 5:00 PM on Tuesday, January 21, 2020. The Supreme Court ruling keeps this policy in place and comes one day after the Richmond Circuit Court ruled to affirm the order. Governor Northam issued the following statement: I am grateful that this executive order stands, and that it will help to ensure the safety of all Virginians on Monday [a gun rights lobby day when as many as 50,000 are expected in Richmond’s Capitol Square]. I am confident that the majority of those attending Monday’s rally will be peaceful. I have full respect for their fundamental American right to voice their opinions. But over the past few days, the news has confirmed that that this rally is attracting extreme individuals and groups—including national hate, neo-Nazi, and white supremacist groups—who are threatening violence and looking to advance a violent agenda.

Meanwhile House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert issued the following statement: “Lobby Day is a time for people to peacefully assemble and petition their government. It is not a place for hate or violence. Any group that comes to Richmond to spread white supremacist garbage, or any other form of hate, violence, or civil unrest isn’t welcome here. Thousands of law-abiding Virginians simply want to have their voices heard at the seat of government. “House Republicans reject any attempt by any group to infuse any kind of twisted or extreme worldview into this fundamentally democratic exercise. So there’s no mistake, this is my message to any group that would subvert this event: you are not welcome here. While we and our Democratic colleagues may have differences, we are all Virginians and we will stand united in opposition to any threats of violence or civil unrest from any quarter.”

MGN

The new General Assembly majority is moving quickly to advance gun-related legislation that the previous Republican majority has blocked for years. Some of the Democrats’ centerpiece proposals received committee approval Monday, as WLNI’s Evan Jones reports.

01-14 Gun Laws Wrap-WLNI-WEB

Virginia lawmakers have taken the first steps toward enacting a series gun laws that supporters say will make the state safer — and opponents say will punish only law-abiding gun owners. The first step in the process is committee, in this case the Senate Judiciary Committee now chaired by Roanoke Senator John Edwards. The first of many proposals before it Monday was one to limit handgun sales to one per person per month, and it passed on a party-line vote. So did a separate measure calling for a limit of handgun purchases in Virginia to one per month per person and what is commonly called a “red flag” bill that would allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from anyone deemed dangerous to themselves or others.

UPDATED NEWS RELEASE: Charles Dustin Johnson, 33, of Lynchburg, also is charged with the following in connection to last night’s incident:

  • One count manufacturing, selling, giving, distributing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute methamphetamine
  • One count  possession of a firearm while in possession of a controlled substance
  • Two counts possession of firearm by a felon
  • One count possession of ammunition by a felon

PREVIOUS: LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Lynchburg Police Department has taken a suspect into custody after a barricade lasting nearly six hours.

On January 11, 2020 at 7:34 p.m., officers responded to the 200-block of Alta Lane to serve Charles Dustin Johnson, 33, of Lynchburg with outstanding warrants for breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and obtaining money by false pretenses. 

When officers attempted to speak with Johnson, he barricaded himself in the residence. Members of the Lynchburg Police Department’s Tatical Unit and Crisis Negotiations Team responded to assist with taking Johnson into custody. After multiple attempts to speak with Johnson, chemical agents were deployed.

Tactical Unit officers eventually took Johnson into custody. Additional charges are pending.

This is an ongoing investigation. Any additional information will be released as an update to this news release.

Sherwin Torrance Overstreet

The man wanted for shooting two employees at the Wards Road McDonalds is in custody. Lynchburg Police say Sherwin Overstreet was arrested this afternoon after turning himself in in Roanoke. Officials say Overstreet got into an argument last Friday with a McDonalds employee at the drive-up window, then parked his vehicle, went inside, and shot two workers.

UPDATED NEWS RELEASE: The Lynchburg Police Department has Sherwin Overstreet in custody. Overstreet was arrested today after he turned himself in while in Roanoke.  Overstreet is charged with two counts of malicious wounding and two counts of using a firearm in commission of a felony.

This remains an ongoing investigation. Any additional information will be released as an update to this news release.

PREVIOUS:  The United States Marshals Service is assisting the Lynchburg Police Department with locating Sherwin Torrance Overstreet.

On January 3, 2020, Overstreet allegedly shot two McDonald’s employees at the Wards Road location. Overstreet is wanted for two counts of malicious wounding and use of a firearm during the commissions of a felony.

The United States Marshals Service is offering a $2,000 reward for information directly leading to Overstreet’s arrest. Tips can be forwarded to USMS84.tips@usdoj.gov or the USMS Tips app.

PREVIOUS: LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Lynchburg Police Department is searching for a suspect in connection with a malicious wounding that occurred in the 2100-block of Wards Road yesterday evening.

On January 3, 2020 at 6:21 p.m., officers responded to a call for a malicious wounding at the McDonald’s located at 2135 Wards Road. Officers arrived and determined an altercation occurred at the drive through window between a customer and an employee. The customer then drove away from the drive through window, parked his vehicle, came inside, and the altercation continued.

The customer then shot two employees and fled the scene in a 2005 Red Mazda SUV bearing VA Tag URS-7076. Detectives have identified him as Sherwin Torrance Overstreet of Roanoke.

As a result of the investigation, Overstreet is charged with two counts of malicious wounding and two counts of using a firearm in commission of a felony. He is currently wanted.
This incident is not connected to last night’s malicious wounding in the 2100-block of Wards Road.

This is an ongoing investigation. Any additional information will be released as an update to this news release.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Det. M. Scott at (434) 455-6174 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 798-5900. Enter a tip online at http://p3tips.com or use the P3 app on a mobile device.

 

 ###

Lynchburg Police say two men are charged with stealing a dozen handguns overnight from W and W Novelty on Lakeside Drive. Police say officers spotted Tyler Bivins of Lynchburg and Wilbert Butler of Madison Heights walking along the roadway shortly after the one a.m. burglary. The pair allegedly took off on foot but were both arrested a short time later, one with the help of a police dog. Officials say all the stolen handguns were recovered.

NEWS RELEASE:  The Lynchburg Police Department has arrested two individuals in connection with a burglary at W&W Novelty last night.

On January 7, 2020 at 1:01 a.m., officers responded to a police alarm in the 2300-block of Lakeside Drive. They arrived and found the front door glass broken as well as several items missing from the business.

While officers were investigating, two males were spotted walking down Lakeside Drive. When officers attempted to stop them, the suspects ran and engaged officers in a foot pursuit. An officer was able to detain one suspect and a K9 was able to detain the second suspect after tracking him. The two suspects stole 12 handguns from the business and officers recovered all 12 handguns.

Tyler Bivins, 20, of Lynchburg, is charged with burglary at night, felony property damage, possession of burglary tools, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, nine counts of possession of a concealed weapon, and nine counts of grand larceny of a firearm.

Wilbert Butler, 22, of Madison Heights, is charged with burglary at night, felony property damage, possession of burglary tools, three counts of possession of a concealed weapon, three counts grand larceny of a firearm, and three counts of attempted grand larceny of a firearm.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Det. C. Davis at (434) 455-6166 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 798-5900. Enter an anonymous tip online at http://p3tips.com or use the P3 app on a mobile device.

MGN

FROM Lynchburg Police: LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Lynchburg Police Department is investigating a homicide that occurred in the 600-block of Gum Street tonight.

On December 28, 2019 at 8:12 p.m., officers responded to a call for a malicious wounding in the 2000-block of Hazel Street. Officers found a 15-year-old juvenile male with a single gunshot wound to the arm.

Shortly after responding to the original incident, with the assistance of an LPD K9, officers identified a victim with a single gunshot wound to the chest in the 600-block of Gum Street. LPD officers and Lynchburg Fire Department medics immediately performed lifesaving measures that were unsuccessful. The deceased has been identified as Darius Saunders, Jr., 31, of Lynchburg.

The juvenile male has been arrested for the homicide.

This is an ongoing investigation. Any additional information will be released as an update to this news release.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Det. J. Tucker at (434) 455-6116 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 798-5900. Enter a tip online at http://p3tips.com or use the P3 app on a mobile device.

1 2 3 39