‘Catfishing’ Virginia cop used service weapon to kill himself

The Virginia sheriff’s deputy who killed three members of the family of a Riverside teenager he had allegedly been “grooming” used his service weapon to fatally shoot himself on the finish of a chase with legislation enforcement, authorities mentioned Friday.

Austin Lee Edwards, 28, a deputy with the Washington County Sheriff’s Workplace, had “catfished” the 15-year-old lady, posing as another person to kind an exploitative relationship along with her on-line, investigators mentioned.

Final month, Edwards made the cross-country drive from Virginia and arrived on the Riverside house, the place he killed Mark Winek, 69; his spouse, Sharie Winek, 65; and their daughter Brooke Winek, 38, on Nov. 25 earlier than setting fireplace to the house and leaving with Brooke Winek’s 15-year-old daughter.

Hours after he fled the scene, Edwards’ automobile was noticed almost 200 miles away in a distant a part of San Bernardino County.

A SWAT workforce tried to cease the automobile, however Edwards led police on a pursuit throughout which he reportedly fired on the SWAT automobile, placing it a number of occasions.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Division had initially mentioned the pursuit ended when Edwards was shot by deputies after swerving off the highway and exiting the automobile. The lady was bodily unhurt.

Final week, nevertheless, sheriff’s officers mentioned Edwards’ explanation for demise had been decided to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“Detectives determined the gun used was Edwards’ department issued semi-automatic service pistol,” the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Division mentioned Friday in an e-mail to The Occasions.

On the time of the incident, Edwards had been employed with the Washington County Sheriff’s Division for lower than 2 weeks. He had beforehand had a brief stint with Virginia state police earlier than resigning Oct. 28.

It’s nonetheless unclear how lengthy Edwards and the lady had been in touch.

The deaths of the three folks on the Riverside house are nonetheless underneath investigation.