Every holiday, it seems, without fail- something major happens.
Monday as we were preparing for the noon news, word of a shooting at the Roanoke Sheetz came across the scanner. We eventually got some info and were able to air it during the newscast.
As I got off the desk, we're hearing more.. this time not just about the Sheetz. We're hearing a trooper had been shot. To say we went into panic mode would be an understatement.
Let me set the scene. I've been here since 3 a.m., my producer has been here since 12:30a.m., our one reporter/photographer team is out doing a story and not answering their collective phones. There's an intern. One guy who's getting ready to walk out the door after editing video for the a.m. & noon. And, one other guy who's answering the phone (7-people for those keeping up at home.)
We start sending people out the door. Any plans you have to leave or go home are put on hold. I pick up the phone and start calling people in. We need a live truck operator. We need a satellite truck operator (the two aren't interchangeable- the SAT guy knows how to do the live truck, but most LIVE truck guys aren't trained and approved to do the Satellite truck.)
Off the record, we're getting all kinds of information. On- record, well, that's another story. No one's talking.
When it's all said and done, we got the story & got the people where they needed to be.
Sadly, a woman is now dead.
A trooper is recovering.
An alleged shooter is in the hospital.
Days later details are still emerging in this case.
First, I've personally spoken with Sgt. Matt Brannock. He's home. He's recovering. He's humbled by the outpouring of support.
Meanwhile, police say Jennifer Agee was gunned down by her ex-husband, Franklin County deputy Jonathan Agee. According to a search warrant, the two, who have been divorced since '05 had some sort of "relationship." Jennifer Agee reportedly contacted the new wife via text messages to let her know of this development. (hey, don't shoot the messager! this is all from a Franklin County search warrant.. )
Also coming out, word that Agee's current wife contacted the Franklin County Sheriff's office to warn them her husband was on a murderous rampage. Instead of issuing an "all points bulletin" or "be on the lookout" - Sheriff Ewell Hunt reportedly said he would handle it himself. He thought it would be quicker. He reportedly contacted the Salem Police Department (Jennifer Agee lived in Salem.) He apparently couldn't get a hold of anyone, so he left a message. Someone from the Salem PD contacted him 13-minutes later. A "be on the lookout" wasn't issued until after Jennifer Agee was shot and killed in Roanoke.
Oh, did I mentioned that Jonathan Agee was named in the Franklin County grand jury indictment against Sheriff Hunt. According to that testimony, Jonathan Agee and Ashley Hunt (the sheriff's daughter) spent time together and she did ride-alongs with him.
Okay, as a reporter/viewer/citizen- here are some of the questions that pop into my head...
- why wasn't an APB or BOLO (All Points Bulletin or Be on the Lookout) issued?
- is there a protocol for this? or is it up to the discretion of the officer?
- if you thought handling it *personally* would be quicker, why did you leave a message? Where's the urgency?
- how much of the office's business is handled personally? (i.e. would handling something "personally" be considered unusual?)
More questions will no doubt come as the days progress, but right now there seems to be an air of "what if" hovering about..
What do you think about this story? Feel free to share your thoughts with me at: firstname.lastname@example.org