Commonwealth's attorney: Man involved in 2020 Virginia Beach traffic stop shot by own gun; Troopers won't face charges

Coleman Sample traffic stop (1).png
Posted at 6:14 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 18:14:12-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney's Office announced Wednesday it has completed its investigation into the August 2020 shooting of a man who died after being arrested by Virginia State Troopers during a traffic stop that led to a chase.

Virginia Beach Commonwealth Attorney Colin D. Stolle said State Troopers "were not the proximate cause of the fatal gunshot" that killed 23-year-old Coleman Sample and that their use of force was justified in this incident.

As a result, the office will not seek any charges against the Troopers involved in the shooting.

After reviewing the death investigation conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and evidence reports from the Department of Forensic Science, Stolle said his office has concluded that Sample was shot by his own firearm, which he says "was in his exclusive possession and control at the time of the shooting."

The report says two Troopers were trying to get control of Sample and the weapon.

In August 2020, State Police said they tried to conduct a traffic stop on Sample's vehicle, which was going 92 mph in a 55 mph zone, but he sped off.

Sample ultimately crashed into a Virginia Beach neighborhood, armed, and tried to run away. Cellphone video captured by a witness shows a tussle between Sample and two Troopers, and then you hear a gunshot.

Sample died at the scene.

Since her son's death, Sample's mother, Laurie Latham, has been an advocate for Troopers to wear body cameras. In an interview she did with us in January, she told News 3 if Troopers were equipped with body cameras and not just dash cameras, she would know for sure how the gun went off.

Click here to read the Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney's Office's final report.