Commonwealth Attorney: Son justified in shooting of father armed with axe in Lee County fight

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LEE COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) -A shooting in Lee County involving a father and son has been ruled as justified, according to Commonwealth Attorney H. Fuller Cridlin.

Virginia State Police began investigating a shooting on Sugar Maple Drive on August 5.

VSP reported that the shooting occurred after a fight started between two family members and involved an axe.

According to a post from Cridlin on Wednesday, August 19, the shooting was ruled as justified due to the 53-year-old father in the fight swinging the axe at his son and saying he planned to kill him.

A release from Cridlin’s office said that the father had drank thirteen 16-ounce beers over the course of the day.

The release also says the father become increasingly upset with his son, resulting in the physical and verbal fight.

The father allegedly told his wife he was going to kill the son if he did not leave the home in five minutes, then he grabbed the axe.

The release says he mother tried to get the axe away from him but was unsuccessful.

Cridlin said in the post that during the dispute, the 29-year-old son “attempted to de-escalate the situation” by calling the police for help and firing warning shots.

The post says despite the son’s efforts, the father swung the axe towards his son, who was then “legally permitted to return force in proportion to the attack to defend himself.”

Cridlin said he found the shooting justified under Virginia law and would not pursue any charges against the shooter.

After the shooting, VSP reported the father was taken to the Bristol Regional Medical Center with serious, but non-life threatening, injuries.

The release said the son cooperated fully with law enforcement after the shooting.

The investigation found that all witness statements were consistent, and the son’s blood-alcohol level was well below the legal limit.

During the investigation, it was reveled that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office had received previous reports of the father’s abusive behavior.

Cridlin said in the post that his office assisted the son and his mother in acquiring a protective order against his father due to his history of abuse and violence.

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