WINTERGREEN, Va. (AP) — A police officer was fatally shot during a struggle with an assault suspect in the woods in a Virginia mountain town, authorities said Saturday.
Wintergreen Police Department Officer Mark Christopher Wagner II was killed Friday night, Chief Dennis Russell said in a Facebook post.
Wintergreen police received a call about a man assaulting two other men at a home, Virginia State Police said in a news release. The two injured men had run away from the home by the time police arrived, and they were treated at a hospital for unspecified injuries that were not life-threatening, state police said.
Wagner found the assault suspect in nearby woods, and they got into a struggle. Wagner was shot during the confrontation and he died there, state police said.
The suspect was taken into custody and was treated at a hospital for unspecified injuries that were not life-threatening, state police said. He was not immediately identified. It was not immediately clear what charges he faces.
Russell, the Wintergreen police chief, said Wagner, 31, had been with the force since August 2020. He previously served seven years with the Massanutten Police Department, Russell said.
The police chief said Wagner, who was known as Chris, enjoyed hiking and photographing nature in his spare time. Wagner “asked for and worked the midnight shift,” Russell said.
“Chris was dedicated to his job and whenever called for extra duty he was ready, willing and able. His love for the badge was evident and his commitment to the community was undeniable,” Russell said.
Wintergreen is located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of Richmond.