Man who wounded Va. cop caught in Texas

The Virginian-Pilot

NEW BOSTON, Texas — A Southwest Virginia man wanted on charges that he shot and wounded a Virginia State Police trooper was arrested Sunday in Texas.

Stephen Branscome was arrested after a massive,10-day manhunt.
His apprehension ends a massive, 10-day manhunt that began March 28 .

Corinne Geller, a State Police spokeswoman, said Steven Dale Branscome, 32, was captured early Sunday at a hotel in New Boston, a community in northeast Texas near the city of Texarkana.

Warrants have been issued for his arrest in several states, including West Virginia, where he is wanted for malicious wounding and wanton endangerment. That’s where Virginia Trooper R.W. Hughes was shot during a foot pursuit that crossed the state line from Virginia.

Branscome’s arrest came after a U.S. Marshal’s Service SWAT team went to the Texas hotel.

Authorities had earlier found a van, stolen from a Statesville, N.C., church on Wednesday and linked to Branscome, in the hotel parking lot.

About 1:40 a.m. Eastern time Sunday, the SWAT team went in. “Branscome at first refused to cooperate and then surrendered without incident a short time later,” Geller said.

Branscome is being held at the Bowie County, Texas, jail pending extradition to Virginia. It was unclear Sunday whether he would face prosecution first in Virginia or in West Virginia.

“This is the safe resolution that we were hoping for,” Col. W. Steven Flaherty, superintendent of the Virginia State Police, said. “By increasing police presence in the Floyd County area, we were able to force Branscome out into the open.”

Authorities had offered a $25,000 reward for Branscome’s capture, believing he was receiving aid from people in the area . He had been last seen by police fleeing into woodlands on a night when temperatures had dipped to near freezing and it was raining. At the time, he was not wearing a jacket.

In addition to the charges of shooting the trooper, Branscome faces numerous charges in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina, including theft of at least four vehicles.

Hughes was shot in the neck while pursuing a man on foot following a short vehicle pursuit in Giles County.

Hughes was not seriously hurt, though a bullet came close to his spinal cord. He has returned to work.

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