Chesterfield County, VA – A 33-year-old father was gunned down by his ex-wife’s new boyfriend in front of his eight-year-old daughter on Sunday night in a police station park lot during a custody exchange.
Chesterfield police said the incident occurred at about 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 16 in the parking lot of the Appomattox Police Station in the 2900-block of West Hundred Road when 33-year-old Stuart D. Jeffries was dropping his daughter off after she spent the weekend with him, WTVR reported.
“Two parties met to complete a child custody exchange in the parking lot at Appomattox Police Station,” a Chesterfield Police spokesperson wrote in an email.
“At the time of the exchange, an on-duty officer was working in his patrol vehicle in the station parking lot; the officer was facing away from where the custody exchange was occurring,” the email continued.
Police said the officer heard the gunshot, WRIC reported.
Officers identified the suspect as 44-year-old Corey D. Goodson, Sr.
He was arrested at the scene, WRIC reported.
“This shooting unfolded rapidly and Officer Dean, at great personal risk, didn’t hesitate to demonstrate a sufficient command bearing and verbal de-escalation techniques to bring a chaotic situation to order without any use of physical force,” Chesterfield County Police Colonel Jeffrey S. Katz, the chief of police, said.
“Officer Dean’s courageous and decisive actions prevented further violence, protected bystanders, and eliminated any ongoing threat to our community. While saddened by this tragic loss of life, I am very proud of him,” Col. Katz told reporters.
Police said that Jeffries was pronounced dead at the scene, WRIC reported.
His sister, Tai Jeffries, said Goodson wasn’t usually present for the custody exchange of eight-year-old Mariah.
“I just, I don’t get it,” Tai Jeffries said.
She said her niece was sitting in a car nearby and witnessed her father’s murder, WRIC reported.
“I pray comfort on you and don’t never forget nothing he ever told you,” the sister said in an emotional speech. “I’m sorry you had to go through that, I’m sorry you had to witness it.”
Fred Lofton, Jeffries’ cousin, said he thought it was ridiculous that the father had been murdered in what was supposed to be a safe spot for custody exchanges, WRIC reported.
Jeffries’s sister agreed.
“This is a story for everybody,” Tai Jeffries said. “This is an example that things could go left, and it shouldn’t go this far. Make everything about the child. At this point, it’s not about how you feel, it’s not about whatever. It’s about the child.”
Goodson was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, WRIC reported.
Police are investigating whether Goodson legally possessed the gun he used to shoot Jeffries and where he got it.
“My brother was a loving dad, he was a loving brother, he was a loving son, all he wanted to do was work and take care of his child,” Tai Jeffries said. “Now one child has no father.”