Three Lynchburg Police Officers Awarded for Valor After New Year's Eve Shooting

September 12, 2023

The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police & Foundation (VACP) will award Lynchburg Police Officers, J. Massie, R. Shelton and M. Donellan the prestigious Award for Valor today in Norfolk.

On New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2022 at 11:19 p.m., Lynchburg Police officers attempted to make a traffic stop they would never forget. An officer witnessed a vehicle that nearly struck two pedestrians while driving on Main Street. When the driver fled, they initiated a pursuit which led to a crash of the suspect’s vehicle on Memorial Avenue. When the three officers approached the vehicle, the suspect produced a handgun and fired at them. To protect their lives, the three officers returned fire using their department-issued handguns. Due to their quick thinking and actions taken to protect the community, no officers or bystanders were injured.

Because of their heroic actions on New Year's Eve, these police officers were chosen to receive the Award for Valor. According to the VACP, the Award for Valor recognizes an officer who, in the line of duty, performs an act of extraordinary heroism while engaged with an adversary at imminent personal risk. This award is the most prestigious to be given by the VACP.

“This incident is a graphic reminder of the incredibly dangerous job the men and women of the Lynchburg Police Department perform in our community every day,” said Ryan Zuidema, Lynchburg Police Department Chief.  “I am extremely grateful that Officers Massie, Shelton and Donellan remained safe while simultaneously demonstrating an unmatched level of bravery that led to the apprehension of someone who was clearly a threat to all of our residents.” 

“I offer our community's profound gratitude for the unwavering commitment of these officers to ensuring the safety and well-being of our residents,” said Wynter C. Benda, Lynchburg City Manager. “Your bravery is a testament to the strength of our police force and the commitment you have to serve and protect our community.”

"I am incredibly proud of these dedicated police officers who have demonstrated exceptional bravery and selflessness in the face of danger,” said Mayor Stephanie T. Reed. “They have gone above and beyond the call of duty, putting their lives on the line to protect our community. Their courage serves as an inspiration to us all, and we are grateful for their service to our city."

The Lynchburg Police Department will accept the award today, Tuesday, September 12 at the Valor Awards Banquet in Norfolk. Please join the City of Lynchburg in congratulating and honoring these three officers. 


For more information, please contact:
Kylie Kidd, Communications Manager
Lynchburg Police Department
(434) 455-6104