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Culpeper police officer fired, awaits murder charges

Thursday - 6/21/2012, 5:05pm  ET

WASHINGTON - The Culpeper Police Department fired an officer who is facing charges in the fatal shooting of a 54-year-old Culpeper woman.

Daniel Harmon-Wright was fired Thursday after an internal investigation into the February shooting of Patricia Cook.

Harmon-Wright, who has been with the Culpeper Police Department for five years and is a former Marine, is charged with Cook's murder.

Cook's husband, Gary, has filed a multi-million dollar wrongful death lawsuit.

Cook was sitting in her Jeep Wrangler in the parking lot of a Catholic church on Feb. 9 when someone called police to report a suspicious vehicle.

The wrongful death lawsuit claims Harmon-Wright responded and spoke to Cook in an aggressive manner. Cook tried to roll up her window and drive away.

The officer had one hand in the door and a gun in the other hand, which he used to fire at her multiple times, the lawsuit says. Cook crashed into a utility pole a block away.

Harmon-Wright pleaded not guilty to one count of murder, one count of malicious shooting into a vehicle, one count of shooting into an occupied vehicle resulting in death and one count of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

He turned himself in on May 29 after an indictment was issued naming him as a suspect.

Harmon-Wright has been in custody at Fauquier County Adult Detention Center ever since. His bail is set at $100,000.

Cook's husband is seeking $5 million in damages. Harmon-Wright's next appearance in Culpeper's Circuit Court will be 10 a.m., July 24.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)