Prosecutor clears Virginia deputy in May fatal shooting

July 3, 2021 GMT

GROTTOES, Va. (AP) — A Virginia deputy who fatally shot a knife-wielding man after responding to a call about a break-in acted appropriately and will not face charges, a prosecutor said.

Augusta County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tim Martin announced his decision in a news release after receiving a Virginia State Police investigative report about the May 14 shooting of Jeffrey J. Bruce, news outlets reported.

“The deputy’s actions in this matter were entirely appropriate,” wrote Martin, who provided a summary of the investigative findings.

According to Martin, the first deputy to respond to the scene in Grottoes found a trailer belonging to one of Bruce’s neighbors damaged from a burglary. The deputy spoke with the neighbor and Bruce’s mother, who told him Bruce “had knives and had been using methamphetamine.”


The deputy also spoke with Bruce’s sister, who confirmed Bruce had broken into the home and said he had expressed a desire to die at the hands of a police officer, Martin wrote.

Martin wrote that Bruce had previously spent 18 years incarcerated for the rape of a 5-year-old girl and a related charge and in the 24 hours preceding his death had been “quite vocal” about not wanting to return to jail.

The deputy called for backup, then he and another officer encountered Bruce, who had been lying in tall grass, according to Martin.

Bruce stood up and revealed a knife, which he held like an icepick over his head as he screamed and charged at the deputies, Martin wrote.

The deputy who fired his gun four times, killing Bruce, wrote that he held Bruce’s hand “until rescue arrived and he passed away.”