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Virginia State Trooper, Four Others Dead After Crime Spree

January 3, 1986

SALEM, Va. (AP) _ Two men who stole a car went on a murder spree today, killing a state trooper and a couple whose van they also stole before shooting themselves during a police chase, authorities said.

Trooper R.M. McCoy was shot around 2:20 a.m. along Interstate 81 after pulling over the suspects’ car, which police believe they had stolen at gunpoint, authorities said.

Minutes after the trooper was shot, the two men went to a Roanoke County home where they shot the man, abducted his wife and stole his van, said Sgt. J.C. Wingold.

They were pursued by a cruiser from the Roanoke County sheriff’s department and one from the Salem Police epartment for five miles along I-81 until the van crashed about one mile north of the Montgomery County line, Wingold said.

Officers found the woman inside, dead of a pistol shot to the temple, said State police spokesman Charles Vaughan. The two men also were dead, one from a shotgun blast and the other from a pistol shot.

He said police had fired no shots during the chase, but were fired upon from the fleeing van.

Wingold said authorities believe the men stole the first vehicle, a 1972 Opel, Thursday night from a motorist whom they shot and wounded.

Harry Walston Harris, 35, of Martinsburg, W.Va., picked up two men in Martinsburg, 180 miles north of here, according to a statement by the Warren County Sheriff’s Department. He was shot in the back with a sawed-off shotgun, the department said.

Harris was in satisfactory condition today at Winchester Medical Center, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Authorities identified one of the men in the van as Denziel Nathaniel Malcolm, 34, a Jamaican who was wanted on a murder warrant in Harrisburg, Pa.

Sgt. Robert Miller of the Harrisburg Police Department said investigators were looking for Malcolm in the Dec. 28 shooting death of his ex-girlfriend.

Richard Cravener, director of criminal investigations with the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Philadelphia, said Malcolm was to appear in court there Jan. 27 for a deportation hearing. Malcolm had re-entered the United States from a boat in Miami after after being deported, but he could not say immediately why Malcolm had been ordered out of the country earlier.

In an interview today from the hospital, Harris told the Winchester Star the men were Jamaicans who forced him from his car in rural northern Warren County.

Harris said he ran when he got out of the car, and heard the shotgun fire once. Wounded, he hid in a nearby field as the two men went back to the car and drove toward him with the lights on.

″I was just hoping and praying they wouldn’t see me,″ said Harris.

After they left, Harris said he walked to the road where a passer-by took him to the hospital.

McCoy, 28, a 51/2 -year veteran of the force, was pronounced dead at Roanoke Memorial Hospital at 5:30 a.m., said hospital spokeswoman D. Gorrell.

Update hourly