Daniel Harmon-Wright testifies in murder trial
The Culpeper officer on trial for killing a 54-year-old woman broke down while testifying Friday, saying he still hasn’t gotten over the February shooting.
Daniel Harmon-Wright told the jury that he wished the shooting that claimed the life of Patricia Ann Cook never happened. But he also said he couldn’t take his actions back.
"I am really upset about it. But given the circumstances if it happened again I think I would have done the same exact thing," he says.
Harmon-Wright is accused of fatally shooting Cook in February. Police have said the 33-year-old was responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle in a church parking lot when he shot Cook, who was unarmed.
Harmon-Wright was fired from his job in June 2012 following his indictment. He is charged with murder, malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle, malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle resulting in a death, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
After getting a call about a suspicious person in the lot, Harmon-Wright testified he approached Cook’s jeep. He says she was acting aloof, odd and off-putting.
After talking and asking for her license repeatedly. Harmon-Wright says he reached inside and tried to grab it from her hands.
That's when he says she closed the window on his arm and accelerated.
He says he yelled, “Stop, stop, stop, what are you doing?" as loud as he could.
He says she then screamed, "No, no, no, I'm not gonna!”
Harmon-Wright says he thought to himself, she is trying to kill me with her car
Harmon-Wright says he warned her three times before opening fire with two shots. But she kept driving. So he followed with five more shots seconds later.
During cross examination, prosecutor Jim Fisher asked Harmon-Wright: "Your intent was to shoot to kill, wasn't it?"
"My intent was to eliminate the threat to the public,” Harmon-Wright replied.
John Weigler, Cook's brother, calls Harmon-Wright's actions brutal and excessive.
“ How you can justify seven shots, several in the back of an un-armed woman in a car,” he said. "that makes no sense to me."
Earlier in the day, the jurors visited the shooting scene.
Closing arguments are expected Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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