Martinsville man charged with attempted capital murder

A Martinsville man was charged with attempted capital murder in connection with a Jan. 1 officer-involved shooting incident in Ridgeway.

Thomas Joe Braxton III, 37, of Martinsville, also was charged with, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and felony elude.

City of Martinsville Police Chief Eddie Cassady requested the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Salem Field Office investigate the incident that began around 9:38 p.m. on Jan. 1, when a Martinsville Police Officer allegedly tried to stop a 2002 Toyota Pickup for a traffic violation on Memorial Boulevard at Askin Street.

The operator of the vehicle allegedly refused to stop when the officer activated emergency equipment, and a pursuit was initiated, according to a release from the state police.

As the pickup traveled down Theatre Street in Henry County, the release alleged the driver jumped from the moving vehicle and fled on foot.

The truck continued to roll down an embankment, crossed over Joseph Martin Highway and crashed into an embankment. No other vehicles were struck during the pursuit or by the driverless pickup.

When Martinsville Police located the suspect behind a nearby apartment building, a man allegedly began firing at and struck one of the Martinsville Police Officers.

During the incident, Martinsville Police officers Michael Panos and Jason Griffith were at the scene and returned fire, the release stated.

Panos suffered a gunshot wound to the left arm and was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Health in North Carolina.

Braxton sustained non-life-threatening injuries during the incident and was flown to Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

He was released from the hospital on Jan. 4, and subsequently arrested by the Virginia State Police.

A firearm was recovered at the scene.

Panos has been with the department for two years; Griffith has been with the department for three years.

During the investigation, both officers were assigned to administrative duties.

Braxton is being held without bond at the Henry County Jail.

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