Steven Dale Branscome (right), wanted for shooting a Virignia State Trooper, has been captured in Texas — hundreds of miles away from the most intensive manhunt in the history of Floyd County.
His capture brings to an end a weeklong saga of roadblocks, house-to-house searches and stories of local residents terrorized by some Virginia State Police tactical team members wearing fatiques and carrying automatic weapons. At one point, close to 400 police officers from 16 different agencies were deployed in Floyd County in a search for a fugitive who, as it turns out, was long gone.
UPDATE: Virginia State Police released the following statement at a press conference this afternoon at the Floyd County Courthouse:
The multi-agency, multi-state search for a Southwest Virginia man accused of shooting a Virginia State Police trooper March 28, 2008, is over. Steven Dale Branscome, 32, was apprehended Sunday morning (April 6, 2008) following a brief standoff at a Texas hotel.
A U.S. Marshal’s Service SWAT Team took Branscome into custody at approximately 12:40 a.m., central time, at a hotel in New Boston, Texas. Through the use of advanced tracking methods, investigators were able to locate Branscome in the New Boston area. As the SWAT Team made entry, Branscome at first refused to cooperate and then surrendered without incident a short time later. Branscome is being held at the Bowie County, Texas Jail pending extradition.
A 1999 Chevrolet passenger van stolen from a Statesville, N.C., church on Wednesday (April 2, 2008) was also recovered in the hotel parking lot. New Boston is located in northeast Texas near the city of Texarkana.
“This is the safe resolution that we were hoping for,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “By increasing police presence in the Floyd County area, we were able to force Branscome out into the open and away from the support network that enabled him to elude investigators for the past week.”
“The Virginia State Police wish to express our sincere appreciation to those citizens in Floyd County who provided us with assistance and information during the course of the investigation. We are also most grateful to the U.S. Marshal’s Service, Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, West Virginia State Police and the multitude of local police and deputy sheriffs that aided us in this extensive search and investigation,” continued Col. Flaherty.
Branscome will face numerous charges in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina, including grand larceny for at least four auto thefts. In West Virginia, Branscome already faces charges of malicious wounding and wanton endangerment in relation to the shooting of a Virginia State Police Trooper.
Police have been searching for Branscome since the Virginia State Police trooper was shot Friday afternoon (March 28, 2008) just inside West Virginia, across from the Giles County, Va. line. Trooper R.W. Hughes was shot in the neck while pursuing Branscome on foot following a short vehicle pursuit near the Glen Lyn community in Giles County. The trooper was not seriously injured and has returned to work.