Christine, Patrick and Chris Wilson of Culpeper, Va., describe a frightening encounter with accused murder suspect Daniel Harmon-Wright

9:56 PM, Jun 11, 2012   |    comments
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CULPEPER, Va. (WUSA) -  Culpeper police officer and murder suspect Daniel Harmon Wright is a free man tonight. He made bail about ten hours after a judge granted him bond on Friday.

The fact that he's free doesn't sit well with the Wilson family.

"He should stay in jail. He's very much a threat," said 19-year-old Patrick Wilson. Wilson, his mother Christine and his 16-year-old brother Chris had a terrifying encounter with Harmon-Wright, according to court documents and their own account of what happened the morning of October 10, 2011.

Mrs. Wilson and Patrick were home from work because it was Columbus Day. But Chris was on his way walking to school. Somebody apparently thought Chris, who was late getting to school, looked suspicious and called police.

Chris tells 9News Now that he saw a white car creeping along, and thought he was being followed. He didn't know it was an undercover police officer. He said he ran and hid because he was scared.

Court documents show that the officer was Brittany Jenkins. The document says Jenkins and Harmon-Wright knocked on the Wilson's home and entered with their guns drawn.

Christine Wilson tells 9News Now that she was terrified as she looked out her window and saw Harmon-Wright pointing a gun at her door. She says he demanded that she come outside, but she refused because she had just been awakened and was not dressed. He said he was searching for her son, Chris, and demanded she let him in. She finally did, and he entered with his gun drawn and searched the home with no search warrant. He found only Patrick.


"I had just woken up and wiped my eyes and came out of my room, and there was this guy with a gun in my face," said Patrick Wilson.


It appears that the only punishment Harmon-Wright received from that incident was a letter from Culpeper Captain Ricky Pinksaw who wrote: "It is apparent that excessive force was utilized" and that "the individual who fled on foot was in fact Mrs. Wilson's son Christopher who only in the in the best light was truant from school."

Captain Pinksaw told Harmon-Wright that "our conversation about the details of the case will serve as a Counseling Session and will serve as the final disposition of this investigation." Exactly one month after that letter of reprimand and four months after the October incident at the Wilson home, Harmon-Wright would kill 54- year-old housewife and Sunday school teacher Patricia Cook.

Prosecutor Jim Fisher says that the first two shots at close range were non-fatal. He says the fatal shots were the next five that Harmon-Wright fired at Cook's Jeep Wrangler as she tried to drive away.


The civil lawsuit Cook's husband Gary has filed against Harmon-Wright may be expanded in scope, according to his attorney Greg Webb. Webb tells 9News Now, "The more I learn about what occurred over the last six years, and his history with the police department, it's mind boggling to me that his career was allowed to culminate in this horrific shooting."


Christine Wilson says if Harmon-Wright had been suspended for what happened at her home, she believe Patricia Cook would still be alive.


Despite a recommendation that Harmon-Wright not be hired because of extensive alcohol abuse, then-police chief Dan Boring hired him anyway. At that time, Harmon-Wright's mother worked for Boring. She has been charged with forgery and lying, trying to cover up her son's record. Boring is now a Culpeper Town Council member.

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