'My son wouldn't have killed himself' says mother of man shot during arrest in Virginia Beach

Posted at 5:37 PM, Aug 20, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - As Laurie Latham gazes off her front porch on Thursday afternoon, she knows her life will never be the same.

Her 23-year-old son Coleman Sample, who was a student and aspiring auto-mechanic, died last week.

"My heart is just broken," Latham said. "At least I got to say I love you before he walked out the door."

Around 10:23 p.m. on Wednesday August 12th, a Virginia State Police trooper reported that they were attempting to stop a 2019 Lexus sedan for reckless driving by speed.

The vehicle, which was traveling west on I-264 at Newton Road in Virginia Beach, refused to stop for the trooper and a pursuit was initiated, reports said. State police said the driver, later identified as Coleman Sample, accelerated up to 92 mph in a 55 mph zone.

Sample's vehicle exited the interstate, drove into the parking lot of Banbury Lake Village Apartments, and allegedly struck a parked vehicle at around 10:26 p.m. Sample then fled the crashed vehicle on foot, but only for a short distance before state police troopers say they caught up with him, reports said.

His mother reflects on what must have been going through his head, "I can only think that he was afraid."

In a press conference state police said, "as troopers attempted to take the adult male into custody he began fighting with troopers and produced a handgun. He fired multiple times at the troopers and one of the rounds struck the male suspect."

Latham disputes that.

"I just can't believe that my son never would've killed himself. Never. I want to know the truth," she said.

State Police said that two troopers were involved and neither fired their weapons or were injured. Latham believes otherwise.

"Something is not right and I want them to see what happened, the truth," she said.

An autopsy report will give the final cause of death, but that has yet to be released.

As of Thursday, state police said they had no new information to make public.

State troopers are not equipped with body camera footage so while investigators analyze the video they do have, and evidence on scene, Sample's family has mounting questions.

Latham said, "I just don't understand what happened and I want to know what happened [like] why my son is gone now. He was a good man. He had a good heart. He was getting it together and becoming a man and wanting so much out of life and that’s what I wanted for him."

His family has created a GoFundMe to pay for funeral expenses. Click here to donate.