CRIME

Va. State troopers, sheriff's deputy face off in shootouts on interstate

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Minutes after shooting and killing his estranged wife, a sheriff's deputy shot a Virginia State trooper, then was caught and shot by other troopers, police say.

Shortly after 11:30 a.m. Monday, Jennifer Agee drove into the parking area of a convenience store and gas station in Roanoke, a child in the back seat.

Her estranged husband, Jonathan A. Agee, a deputy in the Franklin County Sheriff's Department pulled in behind her, driving his police cruiser.

Then, according to witnesses, he pulled out a gun and shot her. She died a short time later at a nearby hospital.

As the gunman fled in his police cruiser, Virginia State Police were alerted by Roanoke Police of the shooting. They said the suspect vehicle was a marked patrol car belonging to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

Sgt. Brannock was traveling eastbound on Route 460 when he spotted the deputy's patrol vehicle headed westbound. When Brannock turned around to pull in behind the deputy's car, Agee activated his lights and sirens, and continued west on Route 460.

Agee then took the on ramp for Interstate 81 northbound at Exit 118. The two vehicles finally stopped on the interstate near the 127 mile marker at approximately 11:48 a.m., where Agee shot Brannock.

Other troopers pursued Agee north on I-81 to the Ironto Exit 128. State police say troopers engaged in a gunfight with Agee and he was shot several times.

"He got out of his car and ran across the interstate and they started shooting and then I drove up through here," a civilian witness said. "And there was a guy standing on the ramp up there with a M-16 or something and he had it held up in the air and then the cops came up through there and they started shooting again."

Both Brannock and Agee were transported to the Roanoke hospital for treatment. Brannock's injuries are not considered life-threatening and he is recovering, police say.

Agee's injuries are considered life threatening. Agee, 32, of Boones Mill, Va., was off duty at the time of the shootings.

The child in Jenifer Agee's car was not hurt. No one else was injured in the incident at the I-81 exit ramp.

The Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Salem Field Office and its Police Shooting Investigation Team are investigating the shootings.

"The focus of investigators right now is piecing together the exact sequence of events leading up to both shootings," said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. "This is a difficult day, needless to say, for Virginia's law enforcement community."

The two troopers involved in the shooting of Agee have been placed on administrative leave.

A Martinsville native, Sgt. Brannock, 35, is an Air Force veteran and joined the Virginia State Police 13 years ago. He is currently assigned to the Salem Division's Area 40 Office, covering the counties of Craig, Floyd, Montgomery and Roanoke.

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