CULPEPER, Va. (AP) - A prosecutor appointed to investigate a fatal shooting by a Culpeper police officer filed court papers Monday asking for a special grand jury.
Fauquier County Commonwealth's Attorney James P. Fisher filed the motion in Culpeper County Circuit Court. The court named Fisher the special prosecutor in the case after the Culpeper commonwealth's attorney recused himself.
The special investigative grand jury would look into the Feb. 9 shooting death of 54-year-old Patricia Ann Cook. Police say the shooting occurred after the officer, whose name has not been released, responded to a report of a suspicious woman in a vehicle in a church parking lot. The officer was talking to Cook when she closed the driver's side window suddenly while trying to get her identification.
State police say Cook drove off with the officer's arm trapped in the window and refused his commands to stop. He then shot her and the vehicle crashed.
A special investigative grand jury would be composed of seven to 11 citizens, whose names would be confidential under Virginia law. They would have the power to subpoena witnesses, documents and records to help them decide whether charges should be filed.
"Whether such an investigation results in prosecution or refusal to indict, such an investigative grand jury, while independent from the prosecutor, is a collaborative and additional investigative force," Fisher wrote in court papers.
Fisher said he hoped a special grand jury could begin work in early May and finish by the end of June.