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Virginia officer who shot man in car indicted on murder charge

A Virginia police officer was indicted on Tuesday on charges of murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle in connection with the shooting of a man who police say was attempting to get away from officers in a vehicle.

Local news affiliate WCYB and The Associated Press reported that Bristol Police Officer Jonathan Brown turned himself in on Tuesday and was charged with murder, maliciously shooting into an occupied vehicle and use of a firearm during a murder. His bond was set  at $25,000.

The officer is charged over the incident in late March when he and other officers were reportedly trying to convince a man to exit his vehicle and speak to them at the scene of a reported shooting when the man allegedly sped up and accelerated in the vicinity of officers while trying to exit a parking lot. Brown fired his weapon, killing the man, according to reports.

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“As officers were verbally engaged with Kohler, he backed up and then drove forward in an attempt to exit the parking lot, at which point one of the officers fired at Kohler’s vehicle,” read a statement from Virginia State Police obtained by the AP.

“He then put the Mustang into drive and sped towards one of the officers. The officer fired at the suspect vehicle as it came at him,” the statement continued.

A prosecutor involved with the case said that he would not discuss the evidence in the case publicly.

Both the officer charged and the man who died at the scene are white, but the incident comes as police use of force is being questioned around the country in the wake of the shooting of Daunte Wright as well as the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd.

“I don’t believe in trying cases in the public eye,” the prosecutor in Brown's case, Don Caldwell, told the AP. “The evidence will be presented during trial, and a trier of fact, either a judge or jury, will make a decision.”