Officers cleared in shooting

Published 8:40 am Wednesday, February 10, 2010

FRANKLIN—Two Franklin police officers involved in a fatal shooting in December have been cleared of any wrongdoing and have returned to work, according to a statement issued by the department Tuesday.

A third officer who was originally being investigated wasn’t charged either.

“The third officer was cleared about two weeks after the shooting as not having struck the victim,” said Franklin Police spokesman Lt. Tim Whitt.

The officers, who have not been identified, have been on paid administrative leave since the Dec. 20 shooting of 37-year-old Donald A. Whitley Jr. at his home on Fairview Drive during an armed confrontation.

Franklin police were called to Whitley’s home following a domestic dispute, according to Whitt. When police arrived, Whitley refused to come outside and fired several gunshots, Whitt said. After several hours, Whitley came out of the house and pointed two revolvers at police, at which point officers fired, Whitt said.

The Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation conducted an investigation into the shooting, which is normal procedure in a police-involved shooting.

The agency turned its findings from the investigation over to the Commonwealth’s Attorney, who made the final determination on whether charges were appropriate.

“Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Cooke cleared the officers involved in the shooting after reviewing all of the facts and evidence associated with the case,” said Whitt. “The officers have been returned to full-duty status.”