Virginia police officer shot, killed during traffic stop; suspect dead: reports

The suspect was found in a barn and fatally shot by responding sheriff's deputies, a report said

A veteran police officer in Virginia was shot and killed Friday afternoon during a traffic stop, according to reports.

Officer Dominic "Nick" Winum, 48, of the Stanley Police Department was shot around 3:15 p.m. while still inside his vehicle, after pulling over a driver who got out of his vehicle and fired at the officer, the Virginia State Police confirmed, according to WHSV-TV of Harrisonburg, Va.

The suspect, identified as Dakota Richards, 29, of Stanley, was fatally shot by Page County sheriff's deputies after he tried to flee on foot through some nearby woods, according to authorities.

Richards was found inside a barn and was shot after making a threatening movement, WHSV reported.

Previous reports that a suspect had been taken into custody were not accurate.

The circumstances leading up to the traffic stop were unclear, the Roanoke Times reported.

News of Winum’s death devastated law enforcement agencies in the area.

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"Since joining our department in 2016, he proudly served and protected the Stanley community," Stanley police Chief Ryan Dean said in a statement obtained by the News-Record. "I know the Stanley and Page County community are keeping Nick and his family in their prayers during this most difficult and tragic time."

"We have no words," the Page County Sheriff’s Office added in a Facebook post. "Please pray for the family of our fallen brother, the Stanley Police Department, and our law enforcement family."

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Winum previously served with the Virginia State Police, the agency that is now leading the investigation into his death, according to the News-Record.

The area saw a previous shooting of a law enforcement officer in November, when Rockingham County sheriff’s deputy Cpl. Patrick Tate was shot during a traffic stop. Tate survived the shooting and continues to recover, the News-Record reported.