WISE — A Wise County Sheriff’s Office deputy will not face criminal charges following a July stabbing and officer-involved shooting.
A 16-year-old male, who was armed with a knife, died from a gunshot wound on July 17 after stabbing Deputy Robert Robinson, Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp III said at a Tuesday press conference.
Deputies and local police had been searching for two juveniles, the independent investigation’s report said. Robinson found the missing 16-year-old male and 13-year-old female in a white SUV in the Dunbar community. Beforehand, a caller reported seeing the two, saying the girl in the car had “been harmed” and “was in bad shape,” according to officials.
According to the report, Robinson ordered the occupants out of the vehicle. When the boy exited the SUV, he attacked the deputy with a knife. After being cut and stabbed, Robinson shot the juvenile.
“No criminal charges will be filed against the officer. I believe that the officer did everything right,” Slemp said. “He acted in justifiable use of self-defense.”
Robinson administered self-aid and attempted to drive through the rural terrain, officials said. He was transported by air to Johnson City Medical Center and was in critical condition. He suffered lacerations to the ear, neck, face and head and severe blood loss. The report said he received more than 30 staples and over 40 stitches.
The 13-year-old girl remained in the car at the scene and was uninjured. The report says she described the 16-year-old’s two knives, the hookbill knife he used against the officer and another that remained in the car. According to a toxicology report performed by the Virginia Department of Forensic Science, the male suspect had no drugs or alcohol in his system.
Body and dash camera footage was not released from the scene. Slemp said the footage would “constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy” in addition to identifying victims and the identity of the two minors. Photos from the footage were shared at the press conference as was audio from the scene.
Robinson said that during the altercation, the boy had cut his face and he felt his throat being cut, the report said.
“I thought he hit my jugular. I was bleeding bad and blood was gushing. At that point, I pulled my gun and shot it. I’m not sure what position I was in or what position (the suspect) was in at the time. After I shot, the fighting stopped and I pulled away from him.”
Slemp cited two Virginia laws in the officer-involved shooting: self-defense and use of lethal force by an officer.
“All citizens, including law enforcement, have the right to defend themselves when attacked, under Virginia law,” Slemp said. “... The amount of force must be reasonable and not excessive. The officer acted in self-defense. He acted in reasonable apprehension of immediate danger to himself. He perceived a threat to his own safety as a result of the assailant’s attack with the deadly weapon.”
Wise County Sheriff Grant Kilgore added that officials also had to consider “reasonableness” in the situation.
“We looked at the facts of this case, and we judge it on the standard of reasonableness. and if you or I would have taken the same action to save our own lives or the lives of others,” Kilgore said. “This one is an easy call.”
Robinson has been a deputy with the Wise County Sheriff’s Office since 2018. He is out of the hospital, Slemp said, but is still recovering and under a physician’s care. Kilgore said Robinson is currently on administrative leave.
Officials also offered condolences to the deceased suspect’s family.
“They’re hurting,” Kilgore said. “They need the prayers. They need to find peace with this situation. I pray for that daily for all parties involved.”
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