Daniel Harmon-Wright of Gainesville, Va., indicted for murder of Patricia Cook of Culpeper, Va.

6:27 PM, May 30, 2012   |    comments
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CULPEPER, Va. (WUSA) - A Culpeper Police officer has been indicted for murder in the shooting death of Patricia Cook. 

Virginia State Police released this statement Tuesday evening:

A special investigative grand jury handed up a four count indictment against the Town of Culpeper Police Officer involved in the Feb. 9, 2012, fatal shooting of a Culpeper County woman. Daniel Harmon-Wright, 32, of Gainesville, Va., has been charged with one count of murder, malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle, malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle resulting in a death, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

The special investigative grand jury was convened at the request of the special prosecutor appointed to the case, Fauquier County Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Fisher.

"Without commenting on the particulars of the investigation, over the course of the month of May, this special investigative grand jury heard from more than 45 witnesses, received more than 100 separate exhibits and were presented with reams of documentary evidence," said Fisher.

The incident occurred at about 10 a.m. Feb. 9, 2012, when the officer became engaged with the driver of a Jeep Wrangler in the 300 block of North East Street in the Town of Culpeper. During the encounter, the driver, Patricia A. Cook, 54, of Culpeper, Va., was shot by the officer. Cook died at the scene.

The Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Culpeper Field Office's Police Shooting Investigation Team conducted the investigation at the request of the Town of Culpeper Police chief.

The special prosecutor's investigation also led to charges against Officer Wright's mother, Bethany Sullivan, 55, of Orange Virginia.

Sullivan, the former administrative secretary to the Culpeper police chief, has been charged with three counts of uttering - which is defined as passing or publishing a forged document with the intent to injure or defraud -  and three counts of forgery of an official police document.

Sullivan is accused of attempting to sanitize information in her son's official police file. Sullivan worked for the police chief from Sept. 2002- July 2010.

Culpeper Mayor Chip Coleman issued a statement on the indictment on Tuesday night:

"We asked the Virginia State Police for an unbiased and thorough investigation into the Feb. 9, shooting incident involving Officer Daniel Harmon-Wright during which Patricia Cook died. We got that from the state police, who along with the special prosecutor Jim Fisher and a special grand jury comprised of local citizens, devoted countless hours to the investigation.
If the allegations brought forth in the grand jury indictments are proven to be true, we as elected and government employees are equally saddened and disappointed. We share in the community's outrage and concern regarding the alleged action of this one officer.
We want the judicial process to run its course, while at the same time ask the community to join with us to help the healing process that requires all of us to work together so that your town can regain your trust.
It is important for us to realize that the alleged actions of one officer should not taint the hard work and dedicated efforts of the men and women who strive daily to protect our community and provide quality service to the public.
Due to Officer Harmon-Wright's indictment, he was immediately suspended without pay.
Upon completion of an internal investigation, disciplinary action will be taken, if appropriate."

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