ROANOKE, Va. — Last week's shooting death of a Roanoke man appears to be connected to an attack on a woman later the same day that led to a police officer being seriously injured, Roanoke's top prosecutor said Friday.
James G. Stokes, 29, was shot and killed May 10 in the 700 block of Hunt Avenue Northwest.
That night, Mary Gilkes, 50, of Roanoke, was assaulted at the Go Mart in the 3500 block of Williamson Road Northwest, police said.
Officer Bryan Lawrence, who was nearby working off-duty as a security guard, heard about the incident at the Go Mart on his police radio.
He spotted the two suspects, who ran from him. He chased them, and as he was apprehending one suspect, the other assaulted him, leaving Lawrence paralyzed.
It is not known yet if Lawrence's paralysis is permanent. He will be traveling out of state for rehabilitation, said police spokeswoman Aisha Johnson.
Police charged William Steele Jr., 18, of Roanoke with malicious wounding of an officer and felony obstruction.
They also charged Dantonio Foster, 25, of Roanoke with felony obstruction and malicious wounding, the latter stemming from the Go Mart incident.
No one has been charged in connection with Stokes' death.
Roanoke Commonwealth's Attorney Donald Caldwell said that soon after Stokes' death, rumors circulated that a man named Kente Gilkes, Mary Gilkes' son, could be connected to it.
It appears that Foster and Steele confronted Mary Gilkes at the Go Mart because of that rumor, Caldwell said.
"The altercation at Go-Mart is clearly connected to emotions which were still running high as a result of the homicide, and the belief, at least in the minds of Foster and Steele, that Ms. Gilkes' son was involved in the shooting," the prosecutor said.
Police will not confirm the connection between the homicide and the assault at the Go Mart. "We're not commenting on that," Johnson said.
A search warrant affidavit filed this week in Roanoke Circuit Court says that Kente Gilkes was in a heated argument with Stokes just minutes before Stokes' death.
Witnesses to the shooting told police that the suspect, or suspects, were seen in a silver Buick, the search warrant said.
Police searched a 2001 silver Buick, registered to Gilkes' girlfriend, and seized "latent lifts," a swab from the window, cigarette filters and other items.