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Authorities identify 37-year-old man who shot, wounded Martinsville police officer

Updated: Jan 6, 2020

HENRY COUNTY – In conjunction with the arrest of Thomas Joe Braxton III and a Virginia State Police January 6, 2020 media release, Martinsville police are releasing the names of the Martinsville Police Officers that were involved in the shooting incident on January 1, 2020.

During the incident Officer Michael Panos was shot once in the left arm.

He was treated and released at Wake Forest Baptist Health in North Carolina and remains under a physician’s care.

Officer Jason Griffith was also involved in the incident.

Officer Panos has been a member of the Martinsville Police Department for 2 years and Officer Griffith has been with the department for 3 years.

The Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Salem Field Office is continuing their investigation into the shooting.

During the investigation both Officers Panos and Griffith have been assigned to administrative duties.

HENRY COUNTY – The Martinsville man who shot a Martinsville Police Officer was released from Roanoke Memorial Hospital and arrested by the Virginia State Police on Saturday, January 4, 2020.

Thomas Joe Braxton III, 37, of Martinsville, Va., was arrested on one count of Attempted Capital Murder; One count Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony; One count Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; One count of Felony Elude.

Braxton is being held without bond at the Henry County Jail.

The investigation remains ongoing and once completed, the findings will be turned over to the Henry County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office for review.


HENRY COUNTY – A Martinsville Police officer and a car chase suspect were airlifted to the hospital after a shootout on Wednesday.

State police say the officer and the 37-year-old Martinsville resident are being treated for non-life threatening injuries.

The incident began at approximately 9:38 PM when the police officer attempted to stop a 2002 Toyota pickup truck for a traffic violation on Memorial Boulevard near Askin Street, according to police.

The male driver refused to stop when the officer activated his emergency equipment and a pursuit began.

As the pickup truck continued down Theatre Street in Henry County, the driver jumped from the moving vehicle and fled on foot.

Meanwhile, the pickup truck continued to roll down an embankment, crossed over Joseph Martin Highway and crashed into an embankment.

Police say when they located the suspect behind a nearby apartment building, he began firing at and struck one of the officers. The officers then returned fire.

Investigators recovered the suspect’s firearm at the scene.

The suspect was flown to Roanoke Memorial Hospital and the Martinsville Police officer was flown to Wake Forest Baptist Health in North Carolina.

The investigation remains ongoing at this time. Charges are pending.


HENRY COUNTY – We now have learned that two Martinsville Police officers were involved in a shooting incident on Wednesday.

Martinsville Police Chief Eddie Cassady has confirmed that two of his officers were involved.

Cassady said he could not release other information since the investigation was turned over to state police.


HENRY COUNTY – A Martinsville Police officer and another individual were airlifted to the hospitals after a shootout in Henry County on Wednesday.

According to radio traffic, the police officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop at around 9:30 PM, which then turned into a police chase.

The chase led police to Greensboro Road then to Joseph Martin Highway.

There an individual driving a Toyota pickup truck exchange gunfire with the police officer.

The suspect was flown to Roanoke Memorial Hospital and the Martinsville Police officer was flown to Wake Forest Baptist Health in North Carolina.

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