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Norton man charged in Lee shooting death

Stephen Igo • Aug 31, 2018 at 10:37 PM

NORTON — The Virginia State Police, with the assistance of the Norton Police Department, have charged a Norton man with first-degree murder in Tuesday’s shooting death of a Lee County man.

Late Friday, the VSP said Leon T. Smith, 24, has been charged with fatally shooting 34-year-old Lee David Lipps of Pennington Gap.

The shooting occurred at around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a 911 call reporting shots fired outside a residence in the 100 block of Virginia Avenue in Pennington Gap.

Authorities say that when deputies arrived, they found Lipps suffering from gunshot wounds. Lipps was transported to Lonesome Pine Hospital in Big Stone Gap, where he was pronounced dead.

A description of the suspected shooter and a car the suspect was believed to have driven from the scene was quickly issued by the VSP. The following day, Wednesday, a citizen’s tip to Wise County Central Dispatch about the suspect vehicle, forwarded to the Norton Police Department, led Norton officers to an apartment complex on Hawthorne Drive.

Norton police spotted the parked vehicle sought by authorities, secured the scene and awaited arrival of VSP investigators, then moved in to detain a male subject who exited one of the apartments and approached the car. At that point, the male subject was detained and taken in for questioning by VSP investigators.

In its Friday night press release, the VSP did not address if the man detained on Wednesday and held for questioning is the same person who is now charged. No further details were available Friday evening. The investigation remains ongoing by the VSP’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Wytheville Field Office, assisted by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

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