Investigations find ‘no criminal liability’ against officers in deadly shooting of 57-year-old Henrico woman

Henrico County

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — No charges will be filed against the officers in the fatal shooting of Gay E. Plack, a 57-year-old Henrico woman who was shot in her home in September, the county’s commonwealth’s attorney said Monday after three separate investigations into the incident found “no criminal liability.”

On Sept. 17, two Henrico police officers responded to the 2900 block of Huntwick Court for a welfare check. While checking the home, the officers were confronted by a woman “wielding and swinging an ax,” and were forced to deadly force, according to Henrico police.

Less than a week later, Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor asked two other commonwealth’s attorneys, City of Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell and Stafford County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen, to also investigate the shooting.

Taylor said she asked Bell and Olsen to look over the case in an effort, “To ensure a complete, thorough and objective investigation.”

Henrico’s investigation was completed at the beginning of November and the findings of each investigation were shared on Monday by Taylor.

On Sept. 17, two Henrico police officers responded to the 2900 block of Huntwick Court for a welfare check.

“I have received the independent reports from two Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys whom I asked to review the case, and our office has concluded its investigation,” Taylor said in a statement Monday. “All three reports unanimously conclude there is no criminal liability on the part of the officers.”

While the investigations found no wrongdoing by the officers, key details about the incident were released.

Police went to Plack’s home after Dr. Dana Soper, who is identified as Plack’s psychiatrist in the reports from Henrico, called to share her concerns about Plack. The report states that Soper told authorities on Sept. 17 that Plack had been in to see her the day before with a friend and was “all over the place.”

According to Henrico’s report, the plan was for Plack to go to the hospital but her friend could not get her to do so. This led Soper to do a follow-up call with Plack on Sept. 17. Plack did not answer and Soper called Henrico police.

“While Dr. Soper said she did not need to ‘see’ an officer, she advised that the ‘officer could call her back and ask questions,’ Henrico’s report on the shooting stated. “Dr. Soper used terms with communications that Plack was ‘bipolar,’ ‘paranoid,’ ‘doing bizarre stuff,’ being strange’ and ‘off,’ but also shared that Plack denied thoughts of suicide or hurting herself.”

The investigation into Plack’s shooting said that the officers who were called to her home “heard that Plack had a history of Bipolar Disorder and Paranoia,” from dispatch.

The details of Plack’s bipolar disorder diagnosis were shared in the wake of the shooting. According to documents obtained by 8News, Plack was a registered nurse who surrendered her license back in 2011 after being hospitalized for mental health issues.

Plack with her brothers David (left) and Bob Bobstock (right)

In the report’s conclusion, Taylor wrote in her legal analysis that the officer who fatally shot Plack “was left with no alternative but to use deadly force to repel the sudden and quick attack of Plack wielding, charging and striking at the officer with a deadly weapon.”

Plack’s brother, Bob Bostock, shared a statement on behalf of the family following the announcement that the officers had been cleared by investigators. Bostock expressed the family’s disappointment with the reports and the lack of advance warning the family was given before they were released.

“Gay’s son received a text message from a detective asking him to call him just 20 minutes before the report was distributed to the media,” the family wrote in the statement. “We had to learn of the report’s publication from the press.”

READ: The full statement from the Plack family

The family of Gay Plack is not surprised by the statement issued by the Commonwealth Attorney’s office since she stated even before she had initiated the investigation that she had concluded that the officers were justified in killing Gay.

We are deeply disappointed that the report did not address the incredibly poor judgement of the responding officers, whoever they are, in entering Gay’s house through a closed door without her permission and without cause and then breaking down the locked bedroom door where she was hiding in what turned out to be justifiable fear for her life. 

If the officers had shown any reasonable judgment they would not have breached her home, where she was minding her own business, and she would be alive today.

The Henrico County Board of Supervisors must take action to put into place policies, procedures, and practices for law enforcement when they are called for welfare checked on persons with mental illness. Any welfare check that ends in a homicide is, by definition, a failure.

We are troubled that the names of the responding officers were redacted from the release and can only conclude that such redactions are designed to avoid holding the officers accountable for their poor judgement and inexplicably reckless behavior. 

Finally, we regret very deeply that the family was not provided an opportunity to see the report before it was issued to the media. Gay’s son received a text message from a detective asking him to call him just 20 minutes before the report was distributed to the media. We had to learn of the report’s publication from the press. That the authorities failed to make any meaningful effort to inform Gay’s family in advance of the release of the report is typical of the callousness shown by Henrico County law enforcement since they killed Gay in her own home.”

Bob Bostock , Gay E. Plack’s brother

In September, Taylor assured that the body worn camera footage, which 8News was allowed to review but not record, from the incident would be made available to the public.

“While, therefore, no charges will be filed,” Taylor’s statement continued, “this was a tragic circumstance and I reiterate my call for a review of mental health policies at every level, to include stakeholders at both the state and local levels, to try and avoid future tragic incidents.”

This story is developing. Stay with 8News for updates.

LATEST HEADLINES:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

StormTracker 8

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss

Local Events