Man charged with shooting at police officer

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Allison T. Williams

A Battery Avenue man, accused of shooting at a police officer Sunday evening, is being held without bond in Western Tidewater Regional Jail.

Claude Byron, 24, was arrested minutes after allegedly firing a handgun at Officer J. Harris, on St. James Avenue, around 6:30 p.m., said Lt. Debbie J. George, spokeswoman for the Suffolk Police Department. Harris was attempting to stop the car because it fit the description of one from which shots had been fired on Second Avenue earlier in the day, she said.

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As Harris was pulling the car over, all three occupants jumped out and begin fleeing on foot, George said. That’s when Byron allegedly pulled the gun from his waistband and fired a single shot at the officer, who was still in his police cruiser at the time, police said.

Harris did not return fire, George said.

Although the bullet missed Harris, it did go into a house in the 500 block of St. James Avenue, George said. The residents were home, but no one was injured.

Police caught Byron nearby on Linden Avenue, a couple of blocks away from where the shooting occurred, George said. Police recovered the gun.

The other two people in the car are still at large, she said.

Byron has been charged with the attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, shooting into an occupied dwelling, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and resisting arrest.

Fatal shooting update

Meanwhile, police are still interviewing suspects in two unrelated double shootings that left two people dead and two others injured Friday, George said. She indicated that an arrest in at least one of the cases could come within the next few days.

She declined to discuss details on either investigation.

Brandon Whittington, 23, of Virginia Beach and Dynia Branch, 27, of Chesapeake were killed by a masked gunman around 7 p.m. Friday at Belleville Harbour, a new complex in northern Suffolk, during an attempted robbery.

Less than four hours later, around 11:15 p.m., someone shot a 14-year-old Nansemond River High School student and 19-year-old Dearnta L. Thomas while they were standing in the parking lot of College Square Apartments, in the 6000 block of College Drive. Both are in stable condition in Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.