Dispatcher: Sheriff ordered her mum on threats by deputy who shot his wife, trooper

Franklin County (Va,) Sheriff Ewell Hunt. Photo:

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - A Franklin County dispatcher told Roanoke police that Sheriff Ewell Hunt directed her not to mention a deputy's threats to kill his ex-wife, according to a transcript of the call released by the city police.

The conversation occurred Monday, moments after Jennifer Agee, 30, was shot to death outside a Roanoke convenience store. Franklin County Deputy Jonathan Agee, who was shot and wounded later by state police, has been charged with murder.

Family members had told the sheriff's office that Agee had left his Boones Mill home to kill his ex-wife.

The Roanoke Times reports that Hunt told his dispatcher not to issue a "be on the lookout" alert for Agee, according to his office's dispatch log, and left a phone message with police in Salem, where he thought Agee was headed, that hinted of no urgency.

Less than two minutes after receiving a 911 call reporting that a man in a Franklin County sheriff's car had shot a woman, the Roanoke dispatcher called Franklin and asked whether it had a K-9 unit in the city.

The Franklin dispatcher said they were looking for a K-9 unit but added: "What our sheriff is telling us ... not to mention anything. So that's why I'm sorta stuck in the middle of this."

Hunt's lawyer, Bill Stanley, said the dispatcher misunderstood the sheriff's orders.

"At no time did Sheriff Hunt say not to mention anything to law enforcement," Stanley told the Roanoke newspaper. "His only advisement was not to disseminate it to the public."

Roanoke police records show officers arrived at the convenience store two minutes after the first 911 call "without prior knowledge of the events leading to this incident." Within 18 minutes, Roanoke said sent alerts for Agee to police departments throughout southwest Virginia.

Police say Agee shot and wounded state police Sgt. Matthew Brannock during a pursuit into Montgomery County. Two troopers shot and wounded Agee, who remains hospitalized.