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Officer involved in shooting named

Date published: 4/4/2012


Two Culpeper officials close to the investigation of the Feb. 9 shooting death of 54-year-old Patricia Ann Cook have confirmed that the Culpeper town policeman involved was Officer Daniel W. Harmon-Wright.

The officials asked that their names not be used because they are not authorized to discuss the matter. Police have not publicly identified the officer involved.

Harmon-Wright, 33, is a former Marine and, according to a town press release issued on the day of the shooting, has worked for the town Police Department for five years.

Before that, Harmon-Wright spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps infantry (1st Marine Division) as an anti-tank assault man.

Records show that he was stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif., in 1999.

According to his Facebook page, where he is listed as "Dan Wayne," he attended James Madison High School in Vienna. It also says that he worked on Rose Parade animation from 2004 to 2006.

For several years Harmon-Wright, then known as Daniel Sullivan, lived in Fauquier County; he then moved to Orange County.

In 2010, Harmon-Wright received a Culpeper Police Department award for his public safety efforts.

The Feb. 9 incident began with the report of a suspicious vehicle parked at the Precious Blood Catholic school/day care on North East Street about 10 a.m.

Following what a town police press release called "an altercation," Cook was shot through the glass of her driver's-side window as she attempted to drive away.

After the initial shot, several more shots were fired up East Street until Cook's Jeep Wrangler rolled into a utility pole about 30 yards from where the incident began.

Cook, who had no criminal record and was unarmed, was pronounced dead at the scene.

A Virginia State Police press release issued the following day stated: "While attempting to retrieve her identification, the woman suddenly closed her driver's side window trapping the officer's arm and started driving away dragging the officer alongside.

"The officer repeatedly commanded the woman stop the moving vehicle."

An eyewitness said that the officer had his hand on the door handle, not in the window.

Special prosecutor James Fisher, who is Fauquier County commonwealth's attorney, has been working with the state police, which is handling the investigation.

On Monday, Fisher requested that a special investigative grand jury be empanelled to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.

Fisher, who will act as special counsel for the grand jury, said he hopes the investigation will be complete by the end of June.

Town police Chief Chris Jenkins has said that he cannot comment on the case in any way as long as the investigation is ongoing.

Harmon-Wright remains on administrative leave. Jenkins would not say if the officer is still on the payroll.

Cook's husband has retained an attorney, who has informed the town of an impending lawsuit.

Donnie Johnston:
Email: djohnston@freelancestar.com