Convicted felon charged with murdering police officer laughs, yawns as judge reads charges against him

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WISE COUNTY, VA- On November 13, Big Stone Gap, Virginia police officer Michael Chandler was shot and killed by a convicted felon during a check welfare call on the suspect at a vacant residence in the community.

More tragically, Chandler was killed on his 29th birthday, according to a press release issued by the Virginia State Police on Facebook.

 
A responding Wise County sheriff’s deputy found Chandler unconscious in a ditch suffering from a gunshot wound. He was airlifted to the Johnson City Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries. He is survived by his wife and daughter.

The suspect—Michael Donivan White, age 33—was arrested and charged with Chandler’s murder. Last week, White was arraigned by Wise County Circuit Court Judge Ron Elkins, appearing via video from the Abingdon Regional Jail.

White, a clear scumbag was unconcerned about the proceeding, according to the Times News, slouching in his chair and yawning while at other times leaned forward.

He yawned and smiled while the charges against him were read. It all appeared to be nothing more than an inconvenience for the cop killer.

 

When Elkins advised White he was being arraigned on probation violations as well as the new indictment handed down by a special grand jury relative to Chandler’s killing, White said, “Ain’t nobody worried about probation violations.”

White was on probation for two counts of grand larceny when the murder of Chandler occurred, according to WJHL. The outlet reported that White will go on trial for felony murder, as well as 12 other charges on April 11-15 next year. That is in addition to the two counts of grand larceny.

“You as a defendant did commit aggravated murder,” Elkins told White. “That is a class one felony, and it carries mandatory life in prison.” 

He also took notice of White’s poor demeanor during the proceedings, warning him that it was a “serious matter,” to which White replied, “…there ain’t much more you can do to me, man”.

 

During the proceeding, White answered a couple of questions saying “yep” and “nope,” with Elkins at one point telling him to clarify his answers for the record, “I don’t know what ‘yep’ means.”

“Yes,” White said. He also called the judge “bro” twice during the hearing, the Times News reported.

White’s court-appointed attorney, Greg Baker requested a speedy trial, which resulted in the assignment of the April 2022 court dates.

Baker also requested a change in venue, however Elkins told him that matter would have to be further discussed with the attorney at a later date, noting an arraignment was an improper forum for such a request.

White was charged with:

  • Aggravated murder
  • Felony murder
  • Possession of Schedule I/II Substances with Intent to Distribute
  • Possession of a Firearm while in Possession of Schedule I/II Substances
  • Shooting in Commission of Murder
  • Use of a Firearm in Commission of Aggravated Murder
  • Possession of a Firearm by a Felon
  • Possession of Ammunition by a Felon
  • Brandishing a Firearm
  • Reckless Handling of Firearms
  • Discharging a Firearm in Public
  • Disorderly Conduct

The aggravated murder charge on its own calls for a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison. Unfortunately, the Virginia General Assembly abolished capital punishment earlier this year.

White was arrested after a 16-hour manhunt by Wise County sheriff’s deputies, the Virginia State Police, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Kingsport Police Department. He was found in a motel in Kingsport, officials said.  

After White’s arrest, Big Stone Gap Police Chief Steve Hamm spoke out about the incident and praised the deceased officer. He said Chandler’s killer needed to be brought to justice.

“We’d like to see the person or people responsible for this prosecuted to the fullest extent,” Hamm said.

He also spoke highly of his murdered officer:

“He truly wanted to help and make a difference in his community,” Hamm said. “He was the type of officer that any department wanted. Everybody knows the risk going into it, but you just don’t want to think her in small-town Southwest Virginia that can be the reality. But it is.”

Law Enforcement Today will update this case as additional info becomes available. 

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For our original reporting on this story, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

BIG STONE GAP, VA – Police are confirming reports that an officer with the Big Stone Gap Police Department was shot and killed on November 13th, his birthday, while conducting a welfare check.

The alleged criminal who committed the murder has been taken into custody.

Police report that the Big Stone Gap Police Officer Michael Chandler was on duty in the early morning hours of the 13th when he stopped and spoke to someone who asked him to check on someone’s well-being.

Chandler was happy to oblige and went to the address in question to check on the unidentified person in what is being described as an abandoned residence.

At some point, after Officer Chandler arrived on the scene, he was shot and gravely wounded.

After the shooting occurred, a deputy with the Wise County Sheriff’s Office stopped by to check on Officer Chandler and found him unconscious lying in a ditch.

Officer Chandler was rushed to a nearby hospital, Norton Community, and then flown to Johnson City Medical Center where he fought for his life on what should have been a celebration for him since it was his 29th birthday.

Officer Chandler sadly succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased.

As soon as Officer Chandler’s body was located, an intense manhunt was launched for the suspect involved in shooting and killing him. While police have not shared many details on who they determined the shooter to be, they have announced that he was taken into custody after being found hiding in Tennessee.

Virginia State Police reported that the suspect in the case was located in a motel in Tennessee. Officers and the SWAT team from the Kingsport Police Department in Tennessee closed in and arrested the 33-year-old Big Stone Gap man without incident.

Big Stone Gap Police Chief Stephen Hamm released a statement regarding the death of one of his officers. He said:

“His [Chandler’s] battle to survive today was truly miraculous. But, he succumbed to his injuries around 7:00 p.m. this evening at the hospital with his family at his side…Please keep his family in your prayers tonight, as this should have been a day to celebrate his 29th birthday – not a day to mourn his passing.”

Officer Chandler was someone who valued public service.  He was not only a police officer in Big Stone Gap, but he was also a volunteer firefighter for the Big Stone Gap Fire Department.

The Fire Department is also reeling from Officer Chandler’s loss and said on Facebook:

“Everyone remembers Michael’s family in your prayers! We have lost our brother tonight!! Heaven gained another Guardian Angel to help fight the evil of this old world! Rest In Peace 5508 we have the watch from here!”

Outgoing Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam also commented on Officer Chandler’s passing. He said:

“Mike was a dedicated public servant, a devoted husband, and father, and a trusted member of the Big Stone Gap community. Like law enforcement officers across the Commonwealth, he put his life on the line every day in service to his fellow Virginians. And at only 29 years old, he made the ultimate sacrifice.

Please join me in sending prayers to his family, fellow officers, and all who loved him. I’m ordering Virginia flags be lowered on the day of his interment, in honor of Michael Chandler’s memory and sacrifice.”

At this time, there have been no formal plans released as to when Officer Chandler’s funeral will be. The Big Stone Gap Police Department and the funeral home will announce that information once a date has been set.  

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

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Officer down: Illinois officer – a young dad – shot to death while investigating report of stolen car

Pontoon Beach, IL – A 14-year law enforcement veteran was shot to death while investigating a possible stolen car at a gas station. The Illinois State Police confirmed the tragic news surrounding Officer Tyler Timmins of the Pontoon Beach Police Department. He had only been with the department for 18 months.

According to reports, Timmins was checking into a car that was potentially stolen around 8 am at a Speedway gas station. A man opened fire on him, striking him at least once and leaving him him with life-threatening injuries. 

As reported by KSDK: 

“A fellow officer rushed Timmins to Gateway Regional Medical Center in Granite City. From there, he was airlifted to Saint Louis University Hospital in south St. Louis. Police department vehicles from several local agencies were seen parked outside the emergency departments at SLU and Gateway Regional Medical Center.”

Several hours later, Timmins succumbed to his wounds.

The alleged shooter was taken into custody. Details surrounding the suspect have not been disclosed at this time. He was sitting inside the vehicle Timmins was checking when he began shooting. A second person was also taken into custody at the scene.

A witness, who heard the shots but did not see what happened, assisted officers with getting Timmins into a squad car. 

“I grabbed him by the belt and got in the police car and started pulling him in the back seat so I could help them get him in the car,” Russell Morrow told local reporters. 

Timmins was 36-years old and leaves behind a wife and a daughter. 

The BackStoppers have stepped in to assist the family.  

“Our hearts are heavy today as we are faced with the loss of Officer Tyler Timmins. He was a hero who dedicated his life to serving and protecting our community. Officer Timmins will be honored and remembered and we will be there for his family for the long road ahead,” Chief Ron Battelle, BackStoppers Executive Director, said in a statement on their website. 

Departments from around the country have posted their tributes on social media. 

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family, friends, & co-workers of Police Officer Tyler Timmins of the Pontoon Beach Police Department, who was shot & killed while investigating a stolen vehicle. He has served his community for 15 years. #FidelisAdMortem” -NYPD

 

Fidelis Ad Mortem is a Latin phrase meaning faithful unto death, and is the motto of the NYPD. 

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said: 

“On behalf of myself and the @Chicago_Police Department, we offer our prayers and condolences to the Pontoon Beach Police Department, family, and loved ones of Officer Tyler Timmins. Officer Timmins made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty and will #NeverBeForgotten.”

 

The @JolietPolice send our condolences to the family, friends & coworkers of Pontoon Beach, IL Police Officer Tyler Timmins. Ofc Timmins was shot and killed in the line of duty yesterday while investigating a stolen vehicle. Rest in peace Ofc Timmins.

 

GoFundMe page has been set up as well.  They have reached their initial goal of $10,000 and are moving towards their second funding goal to assist his family. 

On behalf of everyone here at Law Enforcement Today, our thoughts an prayers are with the family of Officer Timmins, both blood and blue. 

Pontoon Beach Police Officer Tyler Timmins, End of Watch; 10/26/2021.

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Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

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