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Wanted suspect who rammed into Martinsville police vehicle shot at by officer

HENRY COUNTY, VA – A wanted man accused of intentionally ramming into a Martinsville Police Department vehicle while fleeing from officers after a traffic stop was shot at.

It all started shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday in Martinsville when an officer attempted to pull over a vehicle for a traffic violation.

The vehicle stopped on Evening Star Lane in Henry County and the front seat passenger, 38-year-old Jonathan Micheal Easter, of Ridgeway, got out with an AR-15 style rifle, Martinsville Police Chief Rob Fincher told BTW21 News.

Fincher said the officer challenged Easter, ordered him to drop the rifle, Easter did and he then fled on foot.

The officer called for backup since he recognized Easter and knew he was wanted on several felony charges.

Other officers started searching the area and one of them encountered Easter on Veteran Drive driving a Freightliner truck he stole from a nearly parking lot.

The Police Chief said Easter rammed the officer’s vehicle head-on to try to push it out of the way on the road only wide enough for one vehicle.

The patrol vehicle was pushed backwards more than 50 yards and before it could be pushed off a steep embankment, the officer fired several shots from his gun through the windshield into the cab of the truck, according to Fincher.

Easter was not hit by the gunfire, he stopped the truck and was arrested by the officer without further incident.

Easter is being held without bond at the Henry County Adult Detention Center on the prior outstanding warrants of felony elude and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The Virginia State Police was called to conduct an independent investigation into the incident.

The Henry County Sheriff’s Office and the Henry County Department of Public Safety provide assistance in the incident.

The officer was treated and released for minor injuries from the hospital in Martinsville.

“I will say that this is a very good example of how our outstanding officers are willing to put their own lives on the line to try to protect our citizens and keep everyone safe,” Fincher stated.

Additional criminal charges are anticipated.

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