(WJHL) — A former Virginia State Police (VSP) employee and recent hiree of the Washington County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office is accused of driving across the country and killing a teen’s family before taking his own life.
The California triple homicide sparked concern surrounding the police hiring process, leading Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin to call for an investigation into the matter. News Channel 11’s sister station in Richmond, 8News, spoke with Youngkin on Dec. 14. He said at the time that more transparency was needed.
News Channel 11 obtained records that indicate the deceased suspect, identified as Austin Lee Edwards, had been checked into a psychiatric facility in 2016 when he threatened to kill himself and his father.
VSP officials say Edwards never mentioned any incidents that would have disqualified him from employment; however, Youngkin is pushing for more transparency from the state agency.
“The free exchange of information and understanding of what goes into a background check needs to be made readily available and fully understood, and so I have asked for a full investigation, and I look forward to that investigation,” Youngkin told 8News. “Our job is to not let this happen again.”
State police attributed Edward’s hiring to “human error” in a news release earlier in December. VSP officials said that the hiring process included thorough background checks.
“During the background investigation phase of the employment process, the department obtains and documents detailed information regarding the applicant’s background, criminal history, ability and integrity to ensure the most highly qualified and suitable applicants are approved for employment,” a Dec. 7 news release from VSP states.
The investigation stems from a late November triple homicide that left three people dead in California. A police pursuit followed, and the accused killer, Edwards, allegedly shot and killed himself.