(Update: As noted in a “Correction-Clarification” published by Royal Examiner on March 12, a semantical error in the description of the weapon identified by Virginia State Police as the likely murder weapon of Stanley Police Officer Dominic “Nick” Winum has led to a wording correction in the above headline and third sentence of the below five-sentence introduction of the VSP press release of March 3.
That change is from “military-style assault rifle” to “military assault-style rifle” as was correctly worded in the photo caption of the weapon below. The change reflects the fact that all military-use model rifles marketed as “sports” rifles to the general public are adjusted from fully automatic status – one trigger pull, multiple rounds fired (colloquially, machine gun fire characteristic of the battlefield) – to semi-automatic, one round fired for every trigger pull for as many rounds as the clip holds. As noted above, the originally published caption with the weapon photo below was correctly worded: “An online search of ‘Smith & Wesson M&P-15’ revealed a military assault-style semi-automatic rifle available with 10 and 30-round clips.”
Royal Examiner and the writer regret any confusion the wording glitch may have created that the M&P-15 rifle in possession of the suspected murderer of Office Winum was a fully automatic weapon. While some such “sports” models converted from the military market can be re-converted to fully automatic weapons by people with knowledge of the weapon’s machinery, VSP has yet to comment on the firing status of the Smith & Wesson M&P-15 in the possession of Officer Winum’s suspected murderer Dakota G. Richards. Richards was killed by Page County Sheriff’s Deputies after what was described as a “threatening movement” towards law enforcement tracking and confronting Richards with the M&P-15 in his possession in woods in the vicinity of the scene of the crime.
Royal Examiner stands by the substance of the article and the importance of the weapon’s identification as, at least a semi-automatic “sports” rifle based on a fully automatic military assault rifle design.)
A Smith & Wesson M&P-15 rifle was cited as recovered in the possession of 29-year-old Dakota G. Richards after he was killed by law enforcement officers who had tracked him to a barn on the 700 block of Marksville Road after the fatal shooting of Stanley Police Officer “Nick” Winum on February 26. A handgun was also reported recovered from Richards’ vehicle, with no additional information on that weapon in a March 3 update on the incident investigation by the Virginia State Police.
An online search of the referenced M&P-15 rifle revealed a military assault-style rifle pictured below.
The VSP early March update also notes that the traffic stop Winum initiated of Richards was in response to a Be On the Lookout (BOL) “issued for a suspicious person with a gun” in a vehicle matching the description of the Honda Civic Richards was traveling in.
Following is the March 3, VSP Press Release from the office of Culpeper Division Public Information Officer Brent Coffey in its entirety:
STANLEY, Va. – The investigations into the fatal shootings that occurred Friday (Feb. 26) in the Town of Stanley remains ongoing by the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Culpeper Field Office.
Town of Stanley Police Officer D.J. “Nick” Winum observed a 2002 Honda Civic that matched the description of a “Be On the Lookout” issued for a suspicious person with a gun. At approximately 3:15 p.m., Officer Winum activated his marked patrol vehicle’s emergency equipment to initiate a traffic stop. The Honda Civic pulled over in the 600 block of Judy Lane.
Before the officer could exit his patrol vehicle, the driver, Dakota G. Richards, got out of his vehicle and began shooting at Officer Winum’s vehicle. Officer Winum succumbed to his injuries at the scene. Richards, 29, of Stanley, Va., fled into the nearby woods on foot. A handgun was recovered from Richards’ vehicle.
Law enforcement personnel responded to the scene and assisted with tracking Richards. He was later located hiding out in a barn in the 700 block of Marksville Road. There, Richards made a threatening movement and was shot by Page County Sheriff’s Deputies. Richards succumbed to his injuries at the scene. A Smith & Wesson M&P-15 rifle was recovered in his possession.
No additional law enforcement was injured.
Once state police complete the officer-involved shooting, the criminal investigative files will be turned over to the Commonwealth’s Attorney for final review and adjudication.
Smithfield, VA man arrested for soliciting underage victims in Front Royal
On Thursday, April 28, 2022, Front Royal Police detectives initiated an investigation regarding soliciting minors in the Warren County/Front Royal area. Detectives started a proactive
approach to apprehend individuals soliciting underage victims for sexual purposes. An undercover operation ensued, and an adult male began soliciting one of our detectives, who he believed to be a female under the age of 15 years old, for photographs and sexually explicit material. The adult male suspect sent sexually explicit materials to the detective, posing as a juvenile in an undercover capacity. The initial conversation was unsolicited and started by the offender in this case.
During this investigation, police identified the suspect as 28-year-old Smithfield, Virginia resident Sean Kreinsen. On September 16, 2022, Kreinsen was arrested and transported to the Western Tidewater Regional Jail. Kreinsen went before the magistrate and was ordered to be held without bond. The court date for the listed offenses has been set for October 13, 2022, at 09:00 a.m. in Warren County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
The Front Royal Police Department is an active member of the Northern Virginia/DC Metro (NOVA/DC) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which is coordinated by the Virginia State Police. We request anyone with information regarding the solicitation or exploitation of a minor to contact Front Royal Police Department. Anyone with further information regarding this case please contact Detective M.R. Ramey at (540) 636-2208 or by email at email@example.com.
The Front Royal Police Department would like to thank the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in the apprehension of this individual.
Six arrests in forged gaming ticket scam announced by FRPD
During the months of August and September, the Front Royal Police Department received several complaints from local businesses regarding the forging and uttering of fraudulent gaming tickets. A preliminary investigation revealed that several individuals were responsible for either fabricating or altering winning gaming tickets printed from electronic betting machines. These fraudulent tickets were then passed at several businesses with electronic gaming machines in exchange for cash- typically, hundreds of dollars’ worth per ticket. After an extensive investigation, a total of six individuals were identified and have been arrested in connection with these crimes.
The names, photographs, and pending charges of those arrested have been listed below. This investigation is currently ongoing with additional arrests pending.
Anyone with further information regarding this case is asked to please contact Detective Corporal J.E. Fenton at (540) 636-2208, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matthew T Huff of Front Royal, VA. (no photograph available)
Offenses: § 18.2-178 Obtain money by false pretense, § 18.2-96 Petit Larceny
All photographs provided courtesy of RSW Regional Jail.
Skeletal remains found in suspicious circumstance identified as Shannon Lee Fox
On August 26, 2022, the Chief Medical Examiner’s office positively identified the skeletal remains of Shannon Lee Fox.
On August 3rd, 2022, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, with the help of the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, located human skeletal remains that were believed to be those of Shannon Lee Fox, age 30, of Winchester, VA. The skeletal remains were over an embankment in an area on Feltner Road in Bluemont, Virginia.
Shannon Fox was reported missing by a friend on March 1, 2022, after she had not been heard from since February 23, 2022. The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office searched numerous areas of Frederick County since Ms. Fox was reported missing.
Sheriff Lenny Millholland stated that “We were all saddened by the fact Shannon was found deceased and that her body had basically been dumped over an embankment to hide her from being located. Our Investigators spent many days and nights searching leads, information, and areas in and around Frederick County. We basically left no stone unturned in trying to find this young lady.”
The investigation of this case continues. Anyone with additional information about this case is asked to contact the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office at 540-662-6162 or 540-662-6168 and ask for Investigator Travis Adamson
Ressie Jeffries Elementary School placed in lockdown
Late in the school day on August 22, 2022, the Ressie Jeffries Elementary School was placed on lockdown while Front Royal Police Department and Warren County Sheriff’s Office tracked an individual that had an altercation in the proximity of Rural King and allegedly displayed a handgun. The white male, wearing grey sweatpants, was last seen running towards Criser Road; out of an abundance of caution for student and staff safety, Ressie Jeffries Elementary was placed on lockdown due to the proximity and nature of the incident.
Warren County Sheriff’s Office tracking canine (K9) followed the suspect, and the track indicated he had entered Samuel’s Public Library. The library was searched by Law Enforcement, and the suspect was not found to be inside. The canine (K9) then picked up the track, which led out of the area, and away from the school and library. Once the school was secure, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Ressie Jeffries Elementary School Administration’s efforts to safely release students to their parents.
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources for their assistance and especially thank the administration and staff at Ressie Jeffries Elementary, along with the parents of the students, for the way they responded and cooperated with authorities.
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Front Royal Police Department, and Warren County Fire and Rescue Services recently completed joint training with the Warren County School Senior Leadership, where such a coordinated response was discussed. Major Jeffrey Driskill Sr. described this ongoing collaboration as being very successful and wanted to thank School Superintendent Dr. Chris Ballenger and his staff for emphasizing school safety.
Major Driskill also wants to recognize the staff at the Samuels Public Library for their cooperation during this incident. The Samuels Public Library has become very active with the Sheriff’s Office this year. The public should feel comforted that they are also involved with higher-level emergency management planning in conjunction with the Warren County Local Emergency Planning Commission (LEPC).
Any information about the initial incident involving the alleged suspect should be referred to the Front Royal Police Department at 540 635-2111.
Front Royal Police respond to brandishing incident at Royal Plaza
On August 22, 2022, at approximately 2:07 p.m. Front Royal Police Department officers responded to the Royal Plaza Shopping Center, located on South Street, for a report of a white male brandishing a firearm. Witnesses in the area advised that a group of people was attempting to fight when one of the individuals pulled out a light tan gun.
When this incident occurred, an off-duty Front Royal police officer was alerted of the altercation while in Fitness Evolution. The off-duty officer ran in the suspect’s direction but could not locate him. The suspect ran south on the walking trail behind Fitness Evolution and Rural King heading towards East Criser Road.
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office K-9 officer was called to assist in tracking the alleged suspect, while additional calls were made to lock-down Ressie Jeffries Elementary School and Samuels Public Library. The K-9 was able to track the suspect into the wooded area in the Shenandoah
National Park. The suspect is described as being a white male with short brown hair, wearing gray sweatpants and a white t-shirt. The suspect did not have any shoes on.
Anyone with information regarding this case should not hesitate to contact the Front Royal Police Department at (540) 635-2111.
Local bank robbed at gunpoint, public’s assistance requested
On August 18, 2022, at approximately 1pm, a white male wearing a mask and gloves entered the Bank of Clarke County on Crock Wells Mill Drive, displaying a handgun and demanding money.
The subject left the bank on foot with a undetermined amount of cash, in a large white trash bag, and was observed heading south towards the Round Hill Road area. It is believed the suspect then entered a smaller size SUV, displaying no state license plates, and was last seen westbound on Round Hill Road at a high rate of speed.
If you were in this area on August 18th, and believe you observed this suspect or the vehicle, and have any information or possible home surveillance video that might help in identifying the suspect, please contact the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office at 540-662-6162, or Winchester Frederick Crime Solvers at 540-665-TIPS, or the P3app.