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Victim's family responds to news officer won't be charged in fatal shooting

June 14, 2010
  • State troopers investigate the April shooting in Martinsville.
State troopers investigate the April shooting in Martinsville.

UPDATED: 5:10p.m.

The family of a man killed in a Martinsville police shooting is responding to the news that Officer Douglas Graham won't be charged.

After an investigation, state police say Graham was justified in shooting Donald Minter in April after he led police on a chase and pulled a knife on another officer.

David Minter says he doesn't blame the police for his brother's death.

Minter says his brother had struggled with schizophrenia, manic depression and bipolar disorder for years.

He says- he's just glad Donald didn't kill anyone.

Donald Minter is described as a "Jekyll and Hyde" in the report that clears Officer Douglas Graham.

Kind and peaceful when he was on his medication, and irrational and aggressive when he was not..

It was the aggressor, according to the report, who showed up around lunchtime on April 29th. According to the report- the 61-year-old pulled a knife on a grocery store clerk.


Police tried to stop him twice in the parking lot with a taser, but it didn't work. The tragic sequence of events led to a chase that ended in front of a bowling alley in Henry County.

Outside his wrecked car, Minter tried to attack Officer Anita Sowers. Sowers had her taser in hand when Minter whirled around and rushed her with a knife..

According to the report- "He swung the knife at her. She dropped her Taser and went for her pistol, realizing Minter was too close for her draw it."

"Officer Graham saw what was happening and fearing that Minter had already cut Sowers with the knife, fired a single shot .. "

Donald Minter died from that gunshot.

Police found a knife in his hand and two others in a bag he had been carrying.

Minter's brother, David, hopes this incident will inspire lawmakers to do something to help Virginians and their families living with similar mental disorders.

He says had Donald been taking his medication, none of this would have happened.


The Martinsville Police officer involved in a deadly shooting outside of a bowling alley in April will not face criminal charges.

After an extensive investigation by State Police, Henry County's Commonwealth's Attorney Bob Bushnell has decided to drop the matter against officer Douglas Graham.

Graham shot and killed David Minter after the 61-year-old drew a knife on several officers.

First outside of Kroger and then in the bowling alley parking lot.

Minter, a regular customer at Kroger, threatened a clerk when he didn't agree with the price of his grocery bill.

Police tried to subdue Minter with a taser repeatedly but officer Graham finally fired a shot after the suspect was inches away from stabbing another officer.

State Police say had that shot not been fired, Minter would've likely killed the officer or hurt her pretty badly.

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