June 7th, 2008 07:55 AM
Fredericksburg Police Officer shot over domestic situation.
City police officer slain by gunshot.
Date published: 6/7/2008
BY KEITH EPPS
A Fredericksburg police officer and a suspect were killed late last night in a shot-filled incident fueled by the suspect’s apparent obsession with a former girlfriend.
Officer Todd Bahr, 40, a member of the city force for just under two years, was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head, city police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe said.
The suspect, 47-year-old Gregory Berryman, died in a shoot-out with police in the Belmont Apartments parking lot off Cowan Boulevard near the police station.
Bledsoe said Berryman was shot multiple times by city officers after he fired shots at them and an unoccupied police cruiser shortly after 11 p.m.
Police said that after being struck, the suspect put his own gun to his head and fired.
At that time, Bledsoe said, police were unaware that Bahr had been shot. He was found about 15 minutes later near the 2500 block of Manor Court.
According to Bledsoe, the tragic series of events began about 8:30 p.m., when the former girlfriend called police and reported that Berryman had threatened her over the phone.
Bledsoe said the woman was in fear of Berryman and was advised by a police officer to seek a protective order.
The woman went to a magistrate’s office, Bledsoe said, but was not issued a protective order. Bledsoe said she didn’t know why the request was denied.
At 10:50 p.m., the woman called police again. This time she reported that Berryman was brandishing a handgun outside her home at the Commons at Cowan Boulevard, next to the police station.
Berryman apparently became aware that the police had been called and drove away in a blue pickup truck, Bledsoe said. At 11:02 p.m., he and the truck were spotted by a city officer in the nearby Park and Shop Shopping Center.
The truck took off again, this time with the officer following, Bledsoe said. He drove to the Belmont complex, which is next to the former girlfriend’s apartment complex, and ran from the vehicle.
Multiple officers were at the scene or heading toward it by this time, Bledsoe said. Most of them, including Bahr, were on foot looking for the suspect.
At 11:05 p.m., just three minutes after the suspect was spotted in the shopping center, officers heard shots fired. Police suspect that’s when Bahr was shot, but that hasn’t been officially determined as of this morning.
A couple of minutes later, police encountered Berryman in the Belmont parking lot and more shots were fired. Berryman was dead by 11:09 p.m.
Police then checked the area and Bahr’s body was discovered at 11:22 p.m. Police suspect that Berryman shot him, but that has not yet been officially determined.
Bahr is a 1986 graduate of Stafford High School. He also attended Hartwood Elementary School and Gayle Middle School in Stafford.
Before joining the city force in August, 2006, Bledsoe said, he owned a gun shop in Stafford and worked as an auxiliary officer.
“He is absolutely one of the nicest, nicest guys around,” Bledsoe said.
Berryman, whose last known address was in Stafford, was no stranger to city police. He was arrested in September when he entered a home in the 1500 block of Airport Avenue looking for the same former girlfriend.
According to police reports, Berryman was carrying a rifle wrapped in a blanket. He confronted a woman who lived there and ordered her to lead him to the former girlfriend.
At that time, police said the woman had broken up with Berryman several weeks later. She no longer lived at the residence, and the resident told Berryman she didn’t know where she’d moved to.
Berryman was charged with armed breaking and entering, abduction and carrying a concealed weapon.
He was convicted in Fredericksburg General District Court on Oct. 18 of brandishing a firearm and carrying a concealed weapon, both misdemeanors, and got two 12-month jail terms, one of which was suspended.
It was not clear this morning when Berryman got out of jail, but defendants generally only have to serve half of active misdemeanor sentences, meaning Berryman could have been freed after six months from his arrest date.
Meanwhile, Bledsoe said police are actively investigating three different crime scenes—the area where Bahr was found, the area where Berryman ran from his vehicle and the parking lot where the shoot-out took place.
State police are assisting in the investigations and the Stafford Sheriff’s Office sent trained workers to help city officers and dispatchers deal with the tragedy.
Bahr is the second area police officer killed in the line of duty within the past year. Stafford Deputy Jason Mooney died in October when he wrecked while responding to a serious accident on Interstate 95.
A friend of mine who works nights at the county dispatch office just brought this to my attention. May Officer Bahr rest in peace.
“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . .
----- Thomas Jefferson
June 7th, 2008 08:01 AM
This is sad news for anyone to hear but hits home and lets you know just how dangerous the job is. May Officer Bahr rest in peace.
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