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Detective testifies about shooting suspect in leg
BY KEITH EPPS
Spotsylvania Detective Earle Swift stopped by the Dollar General store on Bragg Road the afternoon of June 14 to pick up a Father’s Day card.
He ended up thwarting a robbery and shooting the suspect in the leg.
The suspect, 48-year-old Lexie Clayton Dove of Locust Grove, is charged with attempted robbery and assault on a law enforcement officer.
The charges were sent to a grand jury following a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Spotsylvania General District Court.
Among the evidence presented Tuesday by prosecutor Martha Norton was a store surveillance tape that showed a suspect enter the store while appearing to talk on a cellphone.
The clerk, Aspen French, was away from the register at first but soon walked back behind the counter.
The suspect came up behind her, grabbed her from behind and pulled something out of his pocket.
French testified that the suspect yelled, “Open it, open it,” referring to the cash register. She told him that she couldn’t.
The entire incident behind the counter lasted about 15 seconds. That’s when Swift showed up and saw a struggle going on.
Swift testified that at first he thought it was some sort of couple’s dispute, but then he saw an object in the man’s hand. That object turned out to be a large pair of shears.
Swift, who was off-duty and just outside the door, said he pulled his service weapon and announced, “Sheriff’s Office, drop it!”
Swift said the suspect ran toward him with the shears and the two locked hands and struggled for 30 seconds or so.
As he began to lose his grip on the suspect, Swift said he thought he was going to get stabbed so he shot Dove in the leg.
Other officers soon showed up to assist Swift with the suspect, who was still struggling even after being shot.
Dove was treated for his wounds before being placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail, where he has been ever since.
Court records show that Dove is also being investigated for a robbery that occurred June 9 at 3603 Plank Road, which is across the street from the Dollar General.
Dove is named as a suspect in an affidavit for a search warrant filed in Spotsylvania Circuit Court, but as of Tuesday no arrest had been made in that case.|
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404