Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Local Firefighters Stabbed and Shot At By Cop At Accident

Warrants obtained by the Virginia State Police charge 23-year-old Bradley Colas with two counts of malicious wounding of an emergency medical care provider.

Elisabeth Hulette
The Virginia-Pilot

Accomack County
Hallwood, Virginia

It's unusual for a car crash victim to assault the paramedics trying to help him.

It's even more unusual for that violent victim to be a police officer.

Yet, according to Virginia State Police, that's what happened Sunday on the Eastern Shore. A spokeswoman said troopers arrested and charged a man who survived a car crash only to stab two volunteer firefighters who were trying to treat him, and then shoot at them when they fought back. The accused is a first-year Virginia Beach policeman.

"It doesn't happen very often at all," David Grant, chief of the Atlantic Volunteer Fire and Rescue Co., said of the assault. The two injured firefighters have been treated and released - one was taken to a hospital - but the department is still a bit shaken, he said.

"It has opened our eyes to the possibilities that can happen," Grant said. "We did everything we could do. Everything was done properly. You just never know what can happen."

According to Sgt. Michelle Anaya, a state police spokeswoman, the incident began before 7 a.m. Sunday. A man in a 1999 Honda ran off Lankford Highway in Hallwood and struck a tree.

Fire and rescue workers responded, but as they treated his injuries, the driver became irritated and combative, according to a state police news release. Then he stabbed two firefighters, according to the release.

The firefighters fought back, striking him in the head. The man then pulled out a gun and began shooting at the firefighters, the release said.

The man was walking away from the scene, holding a firearm, when arriving state troopers stopped him, according to the release. He was taken to Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital in Nassawadox, where he remained in custody Monday afternoon, Anaya said.

Virginia State Police took out warrants charging Bradley Colas, 23, of Virginia Beach, with two counts of malicious wounding of an emergency medical care provider, Anaya said.

Police are still investigating, Anaya said, and it's unknown whether they will file further charges.

Officer Grazia Moyers, a spokeswoman for Virginia Beach police, said Colas was a member of the city police academy class that began in August.

He completed the academy and became a probationary officer, she said. It usually takes 18 months for a recruit to go through the academy, serve as a probationary officer and finally become a full officer, she said.

Colas has been working in the 3rd Precinct, Moyers said. The Virginia Beach Police Department is declining to comment further because state police are still investigating, she said.

Neighbors said Monday that Colas is nice and always says hello when they see him. One said he seems "pretty straight and narrow," and another said he once baked brownies for her.

"He seems like a cool guy," William Gilbert said. "He seems easygoing."


writers Cindy Clayton and Mike Connors contributed to this report.

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