WISE COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – Big Stone Gap Police officer Michael D. Chandler returned home after passing away at the Johnson City Medical Center Saturday night.
A procession for Officer Chandler passed through much of Southwest Virginia Monday afternoon. News Channel 11 provided live coverage as the procession returned to Big Stone Gap.
According to a release from Virginia State Police (VSP), Chandler was on duty early Nov 13. when an individual asked him to conduct a welfare check at a residence in the 2500 block of Orr Street. The release says when Chandler arrived at the residence, he “encountered at least one individual.”
VSP reports Chandler was shot during that encounter.
After a Wise County deputy found Chandler lying in a ditch outside the residence, VSP said he was taken to Norton Community Hospital before being flown to Johnson City Medical Center.
VSP said Chandler passed away around 7 p.m. that same day, surrounded by family.
It was his 29th birthday.
Big Stone Gap Police Chief Stephen Hamm described Chandler’s fight to survive as “truly miraculous” and said his loss would be felt throughout the town and county.
Investigations by Virginia State Police, US Marshals and the FBI were immediately launched Saturday morning, and VSP reported that a suspect was taken into custody around 8 p.m. Saturday night in Lynn Garden, Tennessee.
In addition to the investigation, a reward fund of $20,000 was accumulated within the day through offerings by Ballad Health and the US Marshals Service.
Charges connected to the shooting are still pending for the suspect, but VSP said he is currently being held on other charges out of South Carolina and Wise County, Va.