Evan Jones

Roanoke County police say an attempted robbery over the weekend turned fatal when an apartment resident shot and killed the would-be robber. It happened on the 6,000 block of Carefree Lane in the Hollins area. Police identify the deceased robber as 27-year-old Frankie Cordova of Roanoke. No charges have been filed against the resident who fired the fatal gunshot.

From Roanoke County Police:  On Sunday, February 24, 2019 at approximately 8:55 p.m., Roanoke County Police responded to a disturbance with weapon call in the 6000 block of Carefree Lane. Upon arrival at that location, officers discovered a male subject had been shot and was pronounced dead at the scene by Roanoke County Fire & Rescue. Through further investigation it was determined that the deceased subject, identified as Frankie E. Cordova, 27, of Roanoke, had attempted a robbery at the residence. The victim of the robbery was able to fire his own weapon, killing the suspect. No charges have been placed at this time. This case is still under investigation and no further in formation will be released at this time. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call Roanoke County Police at 540-562-3265.

Editor’s note: Google Maps shows the the 6000 block of Carefree Lane to be home to a large apartment complex.

Lina Toot (BCSO photo)

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Searchers have found the body of an 83-year-old Bedford County woman who had been missing for five days. The body of Lina Toot was discovered this morning in a creek not far from her Moneta-area home. Sheriff Mike Brown made the announcement this afternoon:

02-27 Brown Bite1-WEB

Brown says investigators still have some work ahead in efforts to determine the exact circumstances surrounding the death, but he did not suggest there was anything suspicious. Lina Toot had last been seen alive last Thursday night, and the search began the next afternoon.

From the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office: This morning at approximately 9:30 a.m., members of the Bedford County Special Operations Team located Lina Toot in a stream approximately a half mile from her home.  Search teams had checked this area several times last weekend. However, due to the heavy rain the streams were flowing outside their banks making it impossible to thoroughly search the waters.  After reviewing the search efforts from over the weekend it was decided to put search teams back in the area due to the water receding.

This remains an ongoing investigation; however there is no reason to suspect any nefarious activity. Her body will be transported to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the cause of death.

All the first responders are very disappointed that we were not able to locate her alive, but are grateful that we can give the family some resolution and closure in their tragic loss. We are grateful for the support the family showed the first responders during these last several days. We are also thankful for all the individuals and agencies that assisted in this search. The Moneta Fire Department, Bedford County Fire and Rescue personnel, Virginia State Police, Norfolk and Southern, Scruggs Dive Team, Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the dedicated search and rescue teams from all over Virginia who exhibited extraordinary determination and professionalism.

Finally, we want to express our gratitude to the members and congregation of the Diamond Hill Baptist Church for opening their doors to us and give us a place to work and to the community members, who have been overwhelming in their efforts to provide us with food, water and words of support. We at the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office could not do our job without the outstanding teamwork and relationships we have with citizens of Bedford County

SUNDAY UPDATE from the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office: The search for Lina “Pat” Toot continued on Sunday with no success. Over 130 searchers were involved on Sunday. Effective tomorrow, Monday, search efforts will be scaled back, however K-9 searches and air searches will continue. The ground search will continue based on the results of the next several days. Family members advise that Mrs. Toot answers to middle name “Pat”.

SATURDAY: The search continues for Ms. Toot. Plans are to continue searching until 10:00 p.m. tonight. Over 100 people have been involved in the search today. Search will resume first thing in the morning in the event she is not located this evening.

FRIDAY:  At 1:35 p.m. today, Bedford County 911 received a call reporting Lina Toot, a 83 year old female missing from Toot Boulevard in Moneta. The caller stated that when he arrived at the home the door was standing open. He also said the woman lives alone and she was last seen at 8:00 p.m. last night. She is a white female, 5’ 3”, 113 lbs. and has gray hair. Bedford County Sheriff’s deputies, a K-9 from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office along with volunteers from Bedford County fire and rescue are on the scene searching at this time. Anyone with information on her possible whereabouts is asked to call 911 or 586-7827.

UPDATE: VDOT reports all lane have been re-opened. Traffic cams show northbound lanes once again proceding at normal speeds through the downtown and Towers areas.

PREVIOUS: Major traffic backups are developing this afternoon on Interstate 581 in downtown Roanoke. VDOT reports an accident near the Berglund Center has all three northbound lanes blocked. VDOT’s 511 web site says northbound traffic is being diverted off the highway and onto exit ramp onto Orange Avenue. A caller tells us at least one vehicle is overturned, and clothing and shoes were visible on the roadway. VDOT cams show northbound traffic at a crawl by Elm Avenue, and Google Maps shows slowdowns beginning well before Elm.

Donquale Maurice Gray

State Police say the search for a suspected cop shooter is now focusing on the Roanoke region. 25-year-old Donquale Gray is charged with shooting a Bluefield, Virginia police officer two weeks ago at a traffic stop. There is a $20,000 reward for information that leads to his arrest.

From Virginia State Police: The search for the West Virginia man wanted for shooting a Bluefield, Va. Police Officer two weeks ago has now spread to the Lynchburg and Roanoke region. State and federal law enforcement are following up on information that indicates Donquale “DJ” Gray, 25, of Bluefield, W.Va., may now be hiding out in this area. Gray is wanted in Virginia for attempted capital murder of a police officer and there is a $20,000 reward being offered for information that leads to his arrest.

Virginia State Police, U.S. Marshals Service, ATF, West Virginia State Police and local law enforcement on both sides of the state line have been following up on dozens of tips related to the possible whereabouts of Gray. Most recently Gray’s been living in Bluefield, W.Va. He is originally from Chicago, Ill., and is known to frequent family and friends in Chicago.

Gray shot a 29-year-old Bluefield, VA Police Officer last Saturday night (Feb. 16) during a traffic stop on Route 460 near Exit 3 in the town of Bluefield, Va. The officer survived his wounds and is still recovering. For his safety, the officer’s name is not being released at this time.

Gray was the passenger in a 2008 Toyota Yaris that the officer had stopped for an equipment violation at approximately 11:45 p.m. Gray began shooting at and wounded the Bluefield, Va. Police Officer as the officer was standing outside the vehicle on the driver’s side.

The Bluefield, Va. Officer and a second Bluefield, Va. Officer, who had responded to assist with the traffic stop, returned fire. The Toyota’s driver got out of the vehicle and surrendered. Gray got into the driver’s seat and drove off.

The Toyota was found abandoned a few hours later in Bluefield, W.Va.

The driver of the vehicle was cited for a traffic violation and released. He was not injured in the shooting. Nor was the other Bluefield, Va. Police Officer at the scene.

From Appalachian Power: A strong weather system with prolonged damaging winds is affecting multiple states and large population centers from Illinois to the east coast. Much of Appalachian Power’s service area is experiencing sustained winds of 15 – 40 mph with frequent gusts of 40 – 55 mph. As of 5:45 pm Sunday, more than 74,000 Appalachian Power customers are currently without electric service due to damage from high winds, and additional outages are expected to occur as high winds continue to batter areas with moisture-saturated soil. High winds are forecast to continue through tonight and into tomorrow in parts of the company’s service area.

Outages are widespread across Appalachian Power’s service area. Currently the number of customers without service is 2,300 in Tennessee, 40,000 in Virginia and 32,000 in West Virginia.

Employees and contractors across the company are working to assess damage, clear safety hazards and repair damage on outages affecting large numbers of customers. Damage assessors and line crews are facing a number of difficulties in their efforts to identify damage and restore electric service. Some areas are inaccessible due to high water.

Continued high winds are also hampering restoration efforts. Workers cannot safely make repairs aloft from buckets in wind speeds in excess of 30 mph, and cannot safely work in forested areas where high wind gusts are still bringing down trees and limbs.

This storm system is affecting several states and major population centers. Appalachian Power is requesting additional resources but does not yet have commitments from contractors or utilities outside the company’s service area. Until the storm threat has passed and the extent of damage is more fully known, restoration estimates cannot be accurately determined.

High winds are forecast to continue through tonight and into tomorrow in parts of the company’s service area, which will hamper workers’ ability to assess damage and make repairs.

 

Donquale Maurice Gray

State Police say their search for the man suspected of shooting a Bluefield police officer now extends to the Chicago area. 25-year-old Donquale Gray allegedly fired at the officer last weekend during a traffic stop. Police say Gray is originally from Chicago and is known to frequently return there. There is a $10,000 reward for information that leads to his arrest.

From Virginia State Police: State and federal authorities are continuing their coordinated efforts to locate the West Virginia man wanted for shooting a Bluefield, Va. Police Officer last weekend. A $10,000 reward is still being offered for information that leads to the arrest of Donquale “DJ” Gray, 25, who is wanted in Virginia for attempted capital murder of a police officer. Virginia State Police, U.S. Marshals Service, ATF, West Virginia State Police and local law enforcement on both sides of the state line have been following up on dozens of tips related to the possible whereabouts of Gray. Most recently Gray’s been living in Bluefield, W.Va. He is originally from Chicago, Ill., and is known to frequent family and friends in Chicago.

Gray shot a 29-year-old Bluefield, VA Police Officer last Saturday night (Feb. 16) during a traffic stop on Route 460 near Exit 3 in the town of Bluefield, Va. The officer survived his wounds and is still recovering. For his safety, the officer’s name is not being released at this time.

Gray was the passenger in a 2008 Toyota Yaris that the officer had stopped for an equipment violation at approximately 11:45 p.m. Gray began shooting at and wounded the Bluefield, Va. Police Officer as the officer was standing outside the vehicle on the driver’s side. The Bluefield, Va. Officer and a second Bluefield, Va. Officer, who had responded to assist with the traffic stop, returned fire. The Toyota’s driver got out of the vehicle and surrendered. Gray got into the driver’s seat and drove off. The Toyota was found abandoned a few hours later in Bluefield, W.Va. The driver of the vehicle was cited for a traffic violation and released. He was not injured in the shooting. Nor was the other Bluefield, Va. Police Officer at the scene.

Photo: Botetourt Fire & EMS

The environmental impacts of that fiery tanker crash and spill on U.S.-220 near Fincastle are being revealed as a new detour plan is put in place today. WFIR’s Ian Price has more:

02-22 Environment-220 Detour WRAP

UPDATE
From VDOT: Work continues to repair Route 220 in Botetourt County just north of Fincastle where the road was damaged by an overturned tanker fire on February 20. The damaged section of the northbound lanes is located near Route 220’s intersection with Route 679 (Peck Road/Martins Lane).As of 6 a.m. on Feb. 22, northbound traffic is shifted into a single southbound lane of Route 220, the far left lane traveling north. The speed limit is reduced to 35 mph on this section.All southbound traffic is continuing to use the signed detour: Mary Alice Road to West Wind Road to Old Fincastle Road to return to Route 220. Residents in between the detour will continue to be able to access their homes.Tractor-trailers and large industrial vehicles should avoid Route 220 southbound and seek alternate routes such as I-64 and I-81.VDOT still plans to shift two-way traffic into the southbound lanes of Route 220 while repairs are made to the northbound lanes. A timeframe for this traffic change has not been determined and will be dependent on weather.Drivers should expect delays and heavier traffic on secondary roads in the vicinity of the closure.