Spotsylvania Co. deputy shoots suspect who allegedly charged with sword

A Spotsylvania County, Virginia, deputy opened fire on a suspect who charged at the deputy with a sword on Monday afternoon, law enforcement officials say.

The Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office said at 5:55 p.m. the deputy was responding to a call for a domestic disturbance involving the caller’s adult son, who was armed with a weapon and had threatened a family member at their home.



According to a news release, a deputy spotted the suspect running behind the home on arrival. As the deputy approached, the suspect charged at the deputy with what law enforcement described as a “33-inch Spartan Warrior-style sword.”

The Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office released this photo of the “33-inch Spartan Warrior-style sword.” (Courtesy SCSO)

The deputy, a six-year veteran, fired at the suspect and struck him several times, the release said. The suspect was flown to a hospital by helicopter and is recovering.

The Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office said the suspect, 27-year-old Nicholas Gene Howell, is charged with attempted malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer.

Per department policy, the unnamed deputy involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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