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December 14, 2012

Deputies’ killing of teenager justified, investigation finds

File photo/Lawrence Emerson
Sgt. Les Tyler addresses the media the morning of Nov. 2 as state police begin investigation of Evan Newsom's fatal confrontation with Stafford County deputies at his nearby home.
Mr. Newsom had spent time in a juvenile detention center and vowed to his mother that “he would never go back,” state police said.
File photo/Lawrence Emerson
After fighting with his mother and assaulting a neighbor, Mr. Newsom ran her car into a ditch on Aquia Road, about a half-time from their home.
The attack was a clear, direct and immediate attempt to kill or do grave bodily harm to the deputy, and was obviously so perceived by the deputies. In response, (the two deputies) opened fire, killing the assailant. Under the circumstances the killing constituted a justifiable homicide in self-defense
— Virginia State Police press release
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Investigators' report embedded as PDF at bottom of story.

The 17-year-old Liberty High School student killed Nov. 2 by Stafford County deputies had a death wish, according to Virginia State Police.

“The facts strongly suggest that the subject (Evan Newsom) had a clear prior intent to have a fatal encounter with the police and that he acted in conformity with that state of mind,” Fauquier and Stafford's commonwealth's attorneys said in a press release Friday after a six-week state police investigation.

Fauquier and Stafford deputies went to the Newsom home at about 4 a.m. that Friday to investigate an assault and related traffic accident on Aquia Road near the Quantico Marine Base.

Mr. Newsom had run his mother’s 2012 Hyundai Elantra into a ditch about a half-mile from their Tackett’s Mill Road home, whose land straddles the county line.

Entering the home, two Stafford deputies “encountered an apparently highly intoxicated and violent subject, Evan Newsom, who was armed with a knife,” prosecutors Jim Fisher of Fauquier and Eric Olsen of Stafford said in the joint press release.

“Upon seeing the deputies, Newsom immediately attacked (the first deputy, unnamed) with a knife, cutting his sleeve and arm. The attack was a clear, direct and immediate attempt to kill or do grave bodily harm to the deputy, and was obviously so perceived by the deputies. In response, (the two deputies) opened fire, killing the assailant. Under the circumstances the killing constituted a justifiable homicide in self-defense,” the release said.

Before the deputies arrived, Mr. Newsom “had assaulted, threatened and detained his mother and assaulted a neighbor,” the press release said. “he also brandished a knife and made statements such as, ‘I’m not going to jail’ . . . . ‘Just shoot me’ . . . . and, ‘I’m not going down like that.’

“In the past, he had assaulted his mother with a knife, he had a history of self-injuring behavior and had made a clear and unequivocal statement to his mother that he would never go back to the Department of Juvenile Justice, saying, ‘They would have to kill me.’

“Prior to his encounter with the deputies, he wrote a note suggesting that something was going to happen and asking others to ‘carry on my dream’.”

The prosecutors added: “The death of any young person is a tragedy. Unfortunately . . . Evan Newsom placed the deputies responding to his violent acts in a position where it was necessary for them to use deadly force.”

Fauquier deputies remained outside when the shooting took place.

Newsom and his mother had recently moved to the home. He was a senior at Liberty.

The home the Newsoms rented stands just across the county line in Stafford, even though the property gets taxed in Fauquier.

Tacketts Mill Road Shooting
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Jeremy Smith · December 20, 2012 at 10:02 am
Not cruel, just sound like a Dick. I'm not sure who you're calling a wimp. If you can't see and understand the importance of prudence when dealing with this type of a situation, then I am glad that you're not in law enforcement (you're not, are you?).

I'm a fifth generation Southern Fauquier-raised Man. I've lived in this STILL great county all of my life. I take exception to your ignorant comments about the "perennial criminal activity that persists DOWN THERE". WTF are you talking about? Most of the comments in this thread were heartfelt thoughts and perspective on a terrible situation, and then you get on here with this crap?? Come on....I would hope that you're better than that. Keep the hate to yourself and just don't comment next time. Also, I don't see how Liberty Football even comes into a comment on here.

Read the report, the cops who snuck up on (and killed Newsom) didn't get "stabbed by a steak knife". It was an abrasion to the forearm of one of the officers.

Oh....and about the guy in Culpeper who shot the Lady. From what little information is out there, the cop was totally in the wrong for shooting an unarmed lady multiple times through the back of her car seat. That dude needs to be prosecuted and that situation is nowhere near what happened on Tackett's Mill Rd.
GFGS · December 20, 2012 at 10:01 am
I've read this report four times. Something is terribly wrong here. I am surprised that this is being passed off on the public as a justified shooting. If the thinking is that this will be pushed aside by timing, I hope that is not the case. By the way, I am, and I come from a family in public service professions. This screams: "WRONG!" How can we help as individual citizens?
Leslie L King Jr. · December 20, 2012 at 1:29 am
Following up on my last comment, I want to emphasize that i am extremely saddened that we continue to allow these things to happen in our county. If I came off as cruel it was only because I am disgusted by the senseless crimes that persist throughout the entire county and desperately want some resolution to the deterioration of are great county.
Leslie L King Jr. · December 20, 2012 at 12:59 am
I think that this kid was another of the many shady characters that hail from that area of the county and probably would have killed if the cops had tried to coddle him like some of you wimps are suggesting. I think that furthermore, additional funding needs to be provided to create a stronger police presence in the south of the county in an attempt to quell the perennial criminal activity that persists down there, much of which goes uncaught. Also, it is worth noting that this Fisher guy is currently prosecuting a cop for murder in Culpeper, an extreme rarity that probably alludes to the fact that he isn't all about cover-ups, but I digress.
In conclusion, The little jerk got what was coming to him. Maybe now that Liberty doesn't have to worry about being good at football they can focus on teaching their students to not stab cops with steak knives. God Bless you all and Happy Holidays!
notsosubtle · December 17, 2012 at 1:34 am
One more thing, in the report it reads, "Both he (referring to SSO#1) and SSO#2 moved slowly down the stairs in an attempt to sneak up on the suspect." So, yes, they were sneaking up on him. Then, because Fauquier deputies didn't know that Stafford deputies were in the house, they shined their flashlights on the stairs when they saw someone coming down them, effectively highlighting their arrival when Stafford deputies stated they were trying to sneak up (which I don't know is a good thing to do with someone in that frame of mind, but whatever). That is incredibly inept. And at that time, the boy was only a threat to himself because no one else was in the house. He couldn't have hurt anyone but himself with that knife. If they suspected that he was mentally unstable, they should have called the appropriate people in to deescalate the situation. Instead they escalated the situation with their cumulative actions and a 17 year old boy is dead.

Look, I'm not a police officer, but I have worked with them and except for 2 or 3 on a force of 70, I would trust my life and the lives of my children with them. (The police unions are another story.) But this...this makes me feel physically ill.
notsosubtle · December 17, 2012 at 1:06 am
And I have to add, that even if I only knew what was released in the written report from the two CA's, I wouldn't feel safe with that police force. I don't hate cops and there are many more good cops than bad, but I do believe in accountability - especially when they are carrying weapons and are charged with serving and protecting.
notsosubtle · December 17, 2012 at 12:58 am
Do you know how most psychological disorders are addressed in this country? Jail. Juvie for kids. Our prison system is the largest provider of mental health care in this country. That means that people aren't getting access to treatment on the outside, and they are going to jail instead of getting the help they need. That also means that law enforcement deals with a lot of mentally unstable people and should be trained to do so. Do you have any knowledge of the incredible shortage of child psychiatrists in this country? Where I live, a top rated university hospital had a waiting list for a child to see a child psychiatrist so long that they had to close it. The Children's hospital waiting list for a child psychiatrist was a year - and then you were lucky to get an actual MD and not a Certified Nurse Specialist. Seriously, look into this problem in our country. It is very well documented.

I'm not sure how they were doing what they were trained to do when Fauquier didn't even know Stafford was in the house. How does that make any sense? There was zero communication between the departments. It seems to me that would create a danger for the officers both outside and inside, as well as bystanders. How does one deputy take the knife from Evan's hand, and another kicked it away? It's all in the report - which leaves a lot out. In addition, to my knowledge a tox report has not been released by the medical examiner so they don't know if Evan was intoxicated. They also left out that a Fauquier deputy was standing on the porch baiting Evan - telling him that he's not man enough to do anything and that he's f***ing p***y. The deputy admitted to doing that.

And what they found *after* the shooting has no bearing on the shooting itself as the deputies weren't privy to that information. They went barreling in like cowboys, with no communication with the other department and unloaded 9 times. How can a kid get close enough to a cop with his gun drawn to do any kind of damage? I can't figure that out.

If you read just the report and nothing else, the very best you can come up with is this police force is inept.
insidefauquier · December 16, 2012 at 9:14 pm
If this situation was turned around a the police officer was killed im sure people would be looking at this a completely different way.

Your question "Does anyone living in this community feel safe with these cops?" is just rediculous, they were doing there job. These Sheriffs work to protect these counties, they put there lifes on the line to make sure we all have someone to call if were in need. These men are human and leave there families at home day and night to help protect our community and to critize these men when you werent there or to judge what decisions they had to make is horrible. If you have never been in the position where you have to make a split second decision when your life is on the line then you have no idea what it feels like. If you were being charged with a knife by a teenager who was under the influence and was making statements that he was going to harm you what would you do?

As far as the comment about "What on earth is going on". This "confused, scared, young man" was obviously outraged and had a plan. With all the shootings and threats that have happened in the past year have you even taken a look at the people who are conduciting these shootings. They are all "confused, scared, young men" confused, scared or ect. what ever words you want to use, they excuse is always "we suspect psyciological issues". Maybe we need to start looking at psycological disorders and addressing them before they get out of hand. This boy assulted his mother who was letting him live in her house. They didnt sneak up on him shoot him if you read the report, they went in the teen charged the sheriffs injuring one and they in self-defense did what they had to do to protect themselfs. How was this boy a threat to only himself, he punched his mother, bit someones finger who was trying to stop him from drinking and driving, and then stabbed a sheriff, i would say thats more harm to then just himself.

Dont get me wrong i do think it is a tragity to see a 17-year old shot and killed and i do feel for his family. From reading the report though and the notes that he wrote this boy had a plan and wasnt affraid to carry it out. I am not saying that this boy deserved to be killed, all im trying to say is stop blamming the people who are trying to help and do their jobs. These sheriffs are doing what they were trained to do. Not every call they run into is a cookie cutter call where everything they were taught falls right into place. They have to analize the situation, adapt to it, and make a decision. Dont critize them and the job their doing when youve never been in their position. End of Story.
notsosubtle · December 16, 2012 at 7:12 pm
Why did Fauquier deputies not know Stafford was in the house? Why did Stafford not communicate with Fauquier deputies who were already on the scene? How did one deputy remove the knife from Evan's hand, but another kick it away? How are they stating as fact that Evan was intoxicated? Is there a tox report? Does anyone living in this community feel safe with these cops? How much would you now hesitate to call the police if you had a loved one in distress? This doesn't pass the smell test.
2manycritterz · December 15, 2012 at 9:00 pm
An intoxicated 17 year-old with a steak knife, 2 fully armed deputies with more outside...not buying it and shame on both county's Commonwealth Attorneys. This was a clear miscarriage of justice.
sjohn2001 · December 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm
Two armed deputies against a 17-year old with a knife. Plus they seem to have known he was disturbed so caution seemed to be the order of the day. Why was he not tazed? Tazing could have been done from a distance. Nope - go in with guns blazing. I guess the deputies should be commended for only shooting 9 bullets rather than emptying their guns.
Merlin · December 15, 2012 at 9:31 am
What on earth is going on--a confused, scared, young man is holed up in his own house alone with a steak knife and the police decide he might commit suicide so they sneak up on him and blow him away? How does this make any sense?? This boy was not a threat to anyone but himself. Had the cops waited until the boy gave up or went to sleep this could have had a whole different outcome. The Commonwealth Attorneys who said this was justified have crossed the line--they are the law and order kind of prosecutors--conviction no matter how outside the law they have to go. Frankly, this does make me wonder--who protects us from those who are supposed to protect us?
Jeremy Smith · December 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm
Thanks for adding the report, Lawrence. I've printed it and will review this weekend.
Jeremy Smith · December 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm
Still doesn't make sense to me....if the Deputies had even a remote chance of taking this boy in without killing him, they needed to do everything in their power to do so. Do Deputies have "flash bang" grenades? How about using (at least attempting to use) tasers? If the Deputies were young and inexperienced (I am not saying they were, I just have not read anything to tell me who the responding Deputies were or how much experience they had on the force) then they needed to wait it out and get more experienced Law Enforcement Officers on the scene. SWAT maybe? According to what I read above, at least the Mom knew about his predisposition to die rather than surrender if confronted by Police. She and the neighbors were all outside....did the Deputies not even ask the Mom about his state of mind? What about witness reports of the Fauquier Deputy who was at the front door telling him that he wasn't going to do anything?? That he wasn't Man enough to do anything. It's all pretty funny and exciting until someone gets killed. I hope this is not the end of the investigation into the actions of both the Fauquier County and the Stafford County Sheriff Department personnel.

Don't get me wrong....I also realize that there are some dumb m-fers out there and I fully support a LEO's (and anyone's for that matter) right to protect themselves up to and including using deadly force. Through a relationship with a former Sheriff's Deputy (out-of-state) I have come to respect the hard work and sacrifice that LEO's deal with to help protect me and my children. For that I thank them all. Through another recent personal experience, I have lost some of that respect due to a young, inexperienced Deputy (Dog-catcher) who made up lies and totally abused his perceived rights as a LEO in order to abuse my basic civil liberties and to arrest me. What this boy did was a blatant abuse of his powers combined with him lying in order to try and make an arrest. It was very obvious throughout the encounter that he was inexperienced, that he lied to me numerous times, and that he had no right to even pull me over, let alone arrest me. His lack of knowledge of standard procedures would have been comical, if not for the situation that I was put in.

Stories like this killing, along with what I have seen, make me wonder how we pay these folks to protect us, while being at their mercy when it comes to them properly (or improperly) doing their jobs. It is a very basic concept. WE pay THEM to protect us. THEY must do their job with the utmost integrity and honesty. There is NO room for some gung-ho officer to do anything other than what they have been trained to do. NO deviations. If you can't make an arrest honestly, then you can't make an arrest. If you are not trained for a situation (and the situation allows time to bring in someone who IS trained) then you wait.

This bullshit must stop!
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