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Gunman Accused Of Shooting Virginia Police Chief Indicted On 17 Counts

Norton, VA – The gunman accused of repeatedly shooting Norton Police Chief James Lane in May has been indicted by a grand jury on 17 counts.

A Wise County Grand Jury handed down the indictment against 36-year-old James Buckland on Wednesday, WJHL reported.

Buckland faces charges of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, use of a firearm in commission of attempted murder, carrying a concealed weapon, brandishing a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school, aggravated malicious wounding, malicious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer, use of a firearm in the commission of malicious bodily injury, shooting a firearm into a vehicle, shooting a firearm resulting in bodily injury, reckless handling of a firearm with reckless disregard for human life, disorderly conduct, destruction of Norton Police Department (NPD) property, and use of a firearm in the commission of felony destruction of property.

He was also indicted on additional charges of assault and battery of an officer and use of a firearm in the commission of felony assault and battery of a law enforcement officer for allegedly attacking NPD Sergeant Jason McConnell during the May 7 encounter, WJHL reported.

Buckland faces up to life in prison if convicted of the aggravated malicious wounding offense.

His arraignment is scheduled to take place on Aug. 23.

Buckland remains incarcerated at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail, WJHL reported.

Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp announced on May 26 that none of the officers who discharged their firearms during the shootout with Buckland will face charges, according to WJHL.

“To be clear, I have concluded that the officers involved in the shooting, namely Chief James Lane and Sgt. Jason McConnell, were justified in their actions,” Slemp wrote at the time. “They acted in an appropriate manner in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

“The Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Wise County and the City of Norton shall
immediately conclude its investigation into this matter and recommend that both officers return
to duty as soon as they are medically able to do so,” he added.

Chief Lane was released from the Norton Community Hospital on May 28, WJHL reported.

The attack occurred on May 7 near the Walmart store on Commonwealth Drive after the NPD received a report of a shoplifter, WJHL reported.

“As Norton Police Chief James Lane pulled up to the parking lot, he encountered a male pedestrian,” the Virginia State Police (VSP) said in a press release. “The man began shooting into the chief’s vehicle, striking the chief. The chief returned fire.”

A second NPD officer also returned fire, WJHL reported.

Chief Lane and Buckland were both wounded during the shootout, WJHL reported.

“There were several units on the scene very quickly, helping secure the scene, helping provide first aid to both people that were shot, so with the tourniquets and things like that to stop the bleeding [until] rescue got here and they were transported,” Wise County Sheriff Grant Kilgore told the news outlet.

Investigators said they recovered the suspect’s gun at the scene, WJHL reported.

Chief Lane and Buckland were airlifted to Johnson Medical Center.

Alan Levine, CEO of Ballad Health, said Chief Lane was shot twice.

Sheriff Kilgore said the attack on Chief Lane exemplified the “violent times” we are living in, WJHL reported.

“Law enforcement takes a beating every day, and we have some of the bravest men and women in the world right here in Wise County and every police department you want to look at who want to do the right thing to keep their communities safe,” the sheriff said.

Norton Mayor Joseph Fawbush said he was stunned by the brazen attack.

“I, like most of the community members, were in shock and disbelief that something like this could happen in our community,” Fawbush told WJHL.

“I’m very proud of our emergency services for their quick and efficient response to this incident,” the mayor continued. “I’m proud of our commonwealth’s attorney’s office as well for stepping in and issuing warrants as speedy as they did so this individual is not out in the public again.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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