Thursday, December 22, 2005

Suffolk, Virginia

From the Suffolk News-Herald of December 20, 2005
August fatal-shooting case closed

Charges will not be filed against a Jackson Road man in an August fatal shooting at the 7-Eleven on Carolina Road, officials at the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office announced Tuesday.

“We found that the shooting was justified, as it was an absolute case of self-defense,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney C. Phillips Ferguson.

According to the office, an investigation revealed that on the evening of Aug. 10, Eric Ralph, 28, asked Thomas Cross, a customer at the store, for assistance with his vehicle. Cross assisted, but was unable to fix the problem and returned to his own vehicle to leave the premises.

According to Ferguson, this caused Ralph, who had a significant amount of alcohol in his system, to become agitated, and he pulled a firearm, placed it to Cross’s head, and threatened to kill him. Cross then got his own gun, which he possessed legally, and shot Ralph in self-defense, according to a press release issued Tuesday from Ferguson’s office. The victim died at the scene.

Cross then drove home and called police to report the incident.

“Based on the fact that Mr. Ralph was holding a gun to (Cross’s) head and actually making threats that he was going to kill him … there was no question that (Cross’s) life was in danger,” Ferguson said. “This is based on a combination of all the evidence, including corroborating statements from people that witnessed it.”

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