Manhunt for Va. man who shot at deputies, wounded police dog

WASHINGTON — A hunt is underway for a King George County, Virginia, man who is accused of shooting at police officers and wounding a police dog during a traffic stop Sunday night.

Police are searching for Joseph Conway. (Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office)

The Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office says deputies  stopped a car in the parking lot of a Sheetz on Lafayette Boulevard, right on the Fredericksburg border, for a minor traffic violation just after 9 p.m. Sunday.

During that stop, the deputies learned the driver was wanted on several felony warrants in Fredericksburg, and the driver was taken into custody without any problem.

The passenger, Joseph Conway, got out of the vehicle and began fighting with a deputy. Conway, 34, then took off on foot.

By then, a Spotsylvania K-9 deputy and his K-9 were on the scene, and the K-9 was released to chase Conway.

“The suspect turned, and pulled a pistol from his clothing, and fired numerous times at the deputies and the dog, striking the dog at least once, we think twice,” said Capt. Jeff Pearce.

Deputies returned fire, but Conway escaped into a nearby neighborhood.  It’s not clear whether he was hurt.

The Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, Fredericksburg police and Virginia State Police have established a perimeter around the area and searched several hours for Conway.

By Monday morning, the perimeter had been dissolved.

“We feel he is either hiding in a residence with someone he knows, or he was picked up, and left the scene,” Pearce said.

The K-9, named Dux, was taken to a veterinarian.

“The dog is in serious condition, and undergoing surgery as we speak (Monday morning) at the emergency veterinarian clinic,” said Pearce. “We can just standby, and hope for the best.”

Conway is wanted on two counts of attempted capital murder of law enforcement and possession of a firearm by a felon. Conway is a black man, 6 feet, 2 inches tall and 245 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes.

“He has no qualms about firing on uniformed police officers and deputies, so anyone coming in contact, or seeing this person should not approach him, but consider him armed and extremely dangerous,” Pearce said. “Call 911 and let law enforcement take him into custody.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a description of Conway and his photo.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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