Patricia Cook shooting: Officer Daniel Harmon-Wright indicted
Daniel Harmon-Wright, the Culpeper County officer involved in the shooting death of 54-year-old Patricia A. Cook, has been indicted.
Late Tuesday, a special investigative grand jury indicted Harmon-Wright for one count of murder, malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle resulting in death and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
On Feb. 9, 2012, Harmon-Wright stopped Cook following a report of a suspicious woman in a vehicle in a church parking lot.
State police say the officer, in uniform and working out of a marked vehicle, was talking to Cook when she closed the driver's side window suddenly while trying to get her identification.
According to state police, Cook drove off with the officer's arm trapped in the window and refused his commands to stop. He then shot her, causing the vehicle to crash.
Witnesses, though, disputed the official account of what happened.
In early April, Jim Fisher, the special prosecutor appointed to investigate the shooting, asked a judge to convene a grand jury.
Fisher, who is also the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fauquier County, says, “Without commenting on the particulars of the investigation, over the course of the month of May, this special investigative grand jury heard from more than 45 witnesses, received more than 100 separate exhibits and were presented with reams of documentary evidence."
Earlier this month, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of Cook's husband, Gary, seeking millions of dollars in damages.
Bethany Sullivan, Harmon-Wright's mother, was also charged in connection with the case. The 55-year-old Orange, Va. woman is accused of forging public records to get negative information out of her son's personnel file. Sullivan was a secretary for the chief of police until 2010.
Sullivan was charged with three counts of uttering, as well as three counts of forgery of public documents.
Both she and her son turned themselves in voluntarily.
Harmon-Wright is being held without bond at the Fauquier County Adult Detention Center. He will appear in Culpeper County Circuit Court on June 8.Sullivan was released Tuesday on an unsecured bond of $5,000. Sullivan was released on bond Tuesday night.
Harmon-Wright, a five year veteran of the department, has gone by several alias. Before coming to Culpeper, Harmon-Wright was stationed in Camp Pendleton, California as a Marine for four years.
Harmon-Wright went by Daniel Sullivan while living in Fauquier County. On Facebook he calls himself Dan Wayne, classifying himself as a graduate of Vienna's James Madison HIgh School.
Culpeper resident Rocky Powell says, "There's only two people who know what happened, and one's not with us."
Culpeper Mayor Chip Coleman says Harmon-Wright was immediately suspended without pay when the indictment was handed down. Coleman issued a statement which read, in part:
"If the allegations brought forth in the grand jury indictments are proven to be true, we as elected and government employees are equally saddened and disappointed. We share in the community’s outrage and concern regarding the alleged action of this one officer.
We want the judicial process to run its course, while at the same time ask the community to join with us to help the healing process that requires all of us to work together so that your town can regain your trust.
It is important for us to realize that the alleged actions of one officer should not taint the hard work and dedicated efforts of the men and women who strive daily to protect our community and provide quality service to the public...Upon completion of an internal investigation, disciplinary action will be taken, if appropriate.”