Culpeper Officer Indicted, Charged With Murder - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

Culpeper Officer Charged With Murder

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Bethany Sullivan Bethany Sullivan

CULPEPER, VA- A Culpeper police officer is behind bars, charged with murder after he fatally shot a woman in February.

Daniel Harmon-Wright, 32, of Gainesville, was indicted by a special investigative grand jury Tuesday in connection with the February 9 shooting death of 54-year-old Patricia Ann Cook.

Harmon-Wright has been charged with one count of murder, malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle, malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle resulting in a death and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

The officer's mother, Bethany Sullivan, 55, of Orange, was charged with three counts of forgery of public documents for attempting to purge the records in his police personnel file while she was an administrative secretary to the police chief. Sullivan left the police department in 2010.

Police said the shooting occurred when Harmon-Wright responded to a report of a suspicious woman in a vehicle in a church parking lot.

The driver closed the vehicle's window, trapping the officer's arm inside and attempted to drive away, according to police. Harmon-Wright then shot the woman, and the car crashed, according to authorities.

Harmon-Wright was taken into custody Tuesday and is being held without bond at the Fauquier County Adult Detention Center. Harmon-Wright's next hearing is scheduled for June 8. His mother was released on bond.

Harmon-Wright was hired by the Culpeper County Police Department in August of 2006. He has been suspended without pay.

The family of Patricia Ann Cook released the following statement to 8News on Wednesday:

"We were pleased to learn of the Special Grand Jury's actions last night, which we hope will lead to answers and justice. This indictment is an important early step in obtaining the answers we so desperately seek to help understand why Patty was taken from us. The efforts of the Special Grand Jury in investigating Officer Harmon-Wright's actions and, in the process, delivering additional related indictments against his mother, are a perfect example of the power of the citizens of Culpepper to deliver unbiased, reasoned and deliberative justice. We are forever grateful to those eleven citizens for putting their lives on hold to so doggedly pursue the truth. We also thank Special Prosecutor Jim Fisher, the Virginia State Police, and other law enforcement and investigative personnel, whose tireless efforts provided the Special Grand Jury the tools necessary to do its work. Finally, we want to make clear that we do not view the actions of Officer Harmon-Wright, or those alleged of his mother, as being reflective of police or law enforcement generally. The vast majority of those who serve our community do so honorably, and the actions of the few should not taint the dignity of the many. We are eager for the system to get to the bottom of Officer Harmon-Wright's choices and actions on the morning of February 9th that resulted in our loss, and we look forward to obtaining answers and justice for Patty as the judicial system takes over."


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