Shootings spur investigation, lawsuits

Shootings spur investigation, lawsuits

Local police are being questioned for their use of force in several incidents. An investigation by Virginia State Police will look into a Charlottesville police shoot-out October 20 that left fugitive Elvis Gene Shifflett wounded and hospitalized. Less than a week later, two cousins who were shot by police in separate incidents in 2004 filed suit against the Albemarle and Charlottesville police departments.
Shifflett was wanted for allegedly attempting to shoot his ex-girlfriend at Court Square in Charlottesville earlier in October. He disappeared for about a week before he was spotted on Oak Hill Drive in the county. Shifflett dumped his vehicle (police later found a semi-automatic weapon with a full ammunition magazine in the back) and was discovered several hours later trying to steal a truck from a nearby residence when two Charlottesville police officers shot him. The officers have been placed on paid leave, which is standard procedure; Virginia State Police are conducting an investigation into the two officers’ use of force.
“Do I support these men and women? I absolutely do,” Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy J. Longo said of his police force, at a press conference. He called the shooting a “life-altering event” for the officers, but could not discuss details about the shooting because of the State investigation.
Shifflett was sent to UVA hospital following his shooting, and is expected to recover from his injuries.
Meanwhile, Shifflett’s brother, Jeffery Wayne Shifflett, was also at large—for burglary and grand larceny. The convicted felon made threats against law enforcement after his brother’s shooting and said he would not go back to prison. After a car chase with police, he turned himself in to police Thursday, October 26.
But two shooting incidents from 2004 continue to haunt local police. Robert Lee Cooke, shot by Albemarle Police Officer Andy Gluba in October 2004 while committing a burglary, filed suit October 23 for $2 million in compensatory and $350,000 in punitive damages. Cooke was paralyzed from the waist down and is currently serving 10 years for firearms charges and killing Gluba’s police dog, Ingo.
Cooke’s cousin, Kerry Von Reese Cook, filed suit against the Charlottesville Police Department for an August 2004 incident. Cook was shot in the abdomen when he scuffled with police officers who were on a domestic disturbance call to a Friendship Court home. Cook was in a coma for several months and now must use a colostomy bag. He is seeking $10 million in damages.