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Deputy who responded to 'domestic call' was charged by sword-wielding man, Spotsylvania Sheriff's Office says

Deputies say Nicholas Gene Howell, 27, was shot several times. He is hospitalized in stable condition.

SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. — The Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office is offering more details after a deputy shot and wounded an armed man earlier this week.

The sheriff's office says a Spotsylvania man was shot and hospitalized after charging a deputy with a 33-inch sword.

The incident happened on Monday, July 18, when the Spotsylvania County Emergency Communications Center received a call before 6 p.m. for a domestic disturbance at a residence along 6600 Timberbrook Lane.

The caller said their adult son was armed with a weapon. The suspect, later identified as 27-year-old Nicholas Gene Howell, made death threats toward a family member who was inside of the home, according to a Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office press release.

When a deputy arrived to the scene, he found the suspect running to the rear of the home, where family members were standing outside. 

As the deputy approached the back of the home, Howell charged at the deputy with a "33-inch Spartan Warrior style sword," according to the sheriff's office.

Credit: Spotsylvania Sheriff's Office

The deputy tried to avoid Howell, but Howell moved closer, according to Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office press release. That's when the deputy shot Howell several times.

The unnamed deputy, who is a six-year veteran holding the rank Deputy First Class, immediately rendered first aid to the suspect until medical personnel arrived at the scene, officials said. Howell was flown by helicopter to an area trauma center for medical treatment and is listed in stable condition.

The deputy has been placed on administrative leave pending the completion of an ongoing investigation. The sheriff's office says more charges may be sought at the conclusion of the investigation.

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