Police search for man who wielded hatchet at Virginia church

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TROUTDALE, Va. (AP) — Virginia State Police are looking for a man who allegedly showed up to a church and attacked an off-duty trooper with a hatchet before disappearing into nearby woods.

About 20 people were gathered inside a church in the rural community of Troutdale on Sunday night when the worshippers heard someone banging on the doors at the main entrance, news outlets reported, citing a statement from the agency.

An off-duty Virginia State Police trooper was present and opened the door to find a man armed with a hatchet alongside a dog, officials said.

When the trooper attempted to close the door, the man swung the hatchet and struck the back of the trooper’s hand, the agency said. The trooper was treated at the scene for minor scratches and nobody else was injured.

The trooper was able to close the door and direct members of the congregation to safety. He was leading people to their vehicles that night when he heard the man “yelling and howling” near the woodline, State Police said.

Officers responded to the scene to search for the suspect, but he was not found.


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