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Man shot, two arrested as federal investigation turns violent near Hilltop Mall

on March 28, 2012

A federal agent shot and critically wounded a man in the parking lot of a restaurant of a Hilltop area restaurant, Richmond police said Wednesday.

“Agents were here conducting an investigation involving three suspects,” Richmond Lt. Bisa French said during a curbside press conference about an hour after the 3 p.m. shooting. “At some point, the suspect posed a threat to the federal agent. Shots were fired.”

The shooting occurred in the parking lot of the Chevy’s Fresh Mex restaurant at Blume Drive and Garrity Way. One man was wounded, another arrested just after, French said. A third man was nabbed by Richmond police, with the aid of helicopters and police dogs, in a wooded gully behind the restaurant.

French said no officers were injured. She said Richmond police were nearby when the incident occurred, but were not involved in the shooting or the investigation that preceded it. “I don’t know what the nature of the investigation was at this point,” French said.

Update: French confirmed late Wednesday that the shooting occurred during an undercover operation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a federal law enforcement agency.

French said two guns were recovered near the scene. “They were armed,” French said of the suspects. “I don’t know if there was any return fire.”

Minutes after the shooting, Richmond police surrounded the gully into which one man fled. Several officers with rifles and police dogs hiked down the steep slope and plunged into the dense vegetation in pursuit. Two helicopters hovered low over the gully floor.

Minutes later, two Richmond police officers emerged from the wooded canopy with a man. He was handcuffed and wearing a white shirt. Other officers, wearing all-black SWAT fatigues, climbed out of the swampy gully with police dogs tethered to leashes.

French said she would be able to provide more information after consulting with other agencies. “There are so many agencies involved,” French said. “We have to coordinate.”

richmond police chase

Richmond police chase a suspect Wednesday in a gully near Hilltop Mall. (Robert Rogers/RichmondConfidential)

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