CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield county’s law enforcement and head prosecutor say last week’s violent shootout between a suspect and police officers could have been prevented. 36-year-old Jeffrey Kite, a convicted felon, was shot and killed by police on Thursday after an 11-hour standoff and eventual shootout. It happened at his home on Lansmill drive. No police officers were injured but Kite died at the scene.
According to authorities, officers went out to Kite’s home on Wednesday around 4:15 p.m. to arrest him for stalking and violating a protective order. They said the suspect ran into his home when he saw Chesterfield Police approaching and refused to come outside. Authorities said a woman was also in the home and agreed to leave the home after several hours.
This Tuesday, Chesterfield Commonwealth’s Attorney Stacey Davenport called what happened “tragic” and told 8News that her office fought to keep Kite behind bars. “We believed him to be a danger to society if he was released,” she told 8News.
So how and why was he released?
Davenport and Chesterfield police told 8News he never should have never been granted bond, fearing for his safety and a domestic abuse victim’s safety. In that September case, Kite was arrested on “domestic violence offenses involving the use of a firearm,” according to the prosecutor. Court records show he allegedly assaulted his own family member. He was also charged for having a firearm as a felon after being convicted for a robbery in Richmond.
Kite was then granted bond and he continued to commit crimes. In October, before his court date for the September assault and battery charges, he was arrested for violating the protective order filed by the domestic abuse victim. “Before he even made it to court on the first set of charges he had been rearrested on new charges,” Davenport said.
After that, she said the magistrate held him without bond. Then, his defense attorney, Frederick Schick, requested a bond hearing. She said her office fought to keep him behind bars. The judge agreed that he should not be on the streets. However, Schick appealed that decision. After Davenport’s office pleaded with the judge to keep him locked up for the second time, a circuit court judge granted him bond.
Kite was released. Davenport said he was issued an ankle monitor.
“It is not completely unheard of they would release someone over our objection. This was just a situation where it resulted in very unfortunate circumstances after the release,” Davenport said.
Last week, he allegedly violated the protective order again, refused an arrest, and eventually shot at Chesterfield police officers. “I’m very glad no law enforcement were injured or killed,” Davenport said. “That no other member of the community was injured or killed during this.”
“The suspect chose to end the situation violently,” Chesterfield Police Chief Col. Jeff Katz wrote in a statement. “In the face of deadly violence, our officers performed swiftly, decisively, and reasonably given the fact that they were being shot at.”
Davenport said the violence could have been prevented if Kite had remained in custody. “My office did all that we could do try to keep the community safe. And I want them [the community] to know that we’re going to continue to do that.”
“Any loss of life is always a tragic event and one that we all hope to avoid,” she said. “My office takes our role in ensuring public safety here in Chesterfield very seriously, and one of the most important things we can do to protect our community is to object to the release of dangerous individuals into our community.”
Last week, one of Kite’s friends and his neighbors told 8News they are thinking about Kite’s family and hope they can get through this.
8News reached out to Kite’s attorney for comment but did not hear back.