Home Roanoke man killed after threatening police, advancing toward officers with axe

Roanoke man killed after threatening police, advancing toward officers with axe

Crystal Graham
(© SevenMaps – shutterstock.com)

The Virginia State Police is investigating an officer-involved shooting in the City of Roanoke on Saturday afternoon that left one man dead.

Travis Taurean Martin, 41, of Roanoke, died after engaging officers with a weapon after he appeared hellbent on suicide by cop.

Martin died, according to the Roanoke Police Department, after a traffic stop on Hershberger Road where he advanced toward the officers with an axe. Two Roanoke Police officers discharged their service weapons striking Martin who died on the scene.

The timeline leading up to the traffic stop was chaotic to say the least. All times are approximate.

At 8:30 a.m., Martin allegedly drove past the Roanoke Police Department and shouted verbal threats toward officers who were outside.

At 8:45 a.m., Martin allegedly called 911 and threatened to “kill all Roanoke City Police officers.”

He reportedly called back a few minutes later and made threats toward City of Roanoke E-911 Center dispatchers.

After these calls, police officers obtained two warrants for threats over public airways and began actively looking for Martin.

At 11:40 a.m., officers were notified that Martin had damaged a neighboring jurisdiction’s police car that was in the City of Roanoke.

Officers obtained a second warrant for property damage and continued searching for Martin.

Martin was located at a business in the Valley View area at 1:30 p.m. Officers began following his vehicle and requested additional units to assist with the traffic stop.

When the additional units responded, Martin’s vehicle was traveling on Hershberger Road NW. Officers initiated a traffic stop in the 2900 block of Hershberger Road NW. The vehicle came to a stop in the turning lane at the intersection of Hershberger Road and Ferncliff Avenue NW.

Martin immediately exited his vehicle, according to police, and advanced toward the officers’ vehicles with a weapon, identified by police as an axe/hatchet. He struck one occupied patrol vehicle several times with the weapon, and then allegedly turned and advanced toward another officer. At that time, two Roanoke Police officers discharged their service weapons and struck Martin.

Martin’s weapon was reportedly recovered at the scene by investigators.

Officers on scene report they immediately began rendering aid to Martin until Roanoke Fire-EMS personnel arrived. Upon their arrival, Martin was pronounced deceased.

No Roanoke Police officers were injured during the incident.

Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Salem division, will be investigating this incident. The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, per policy.

Once the investigation is complete, the findings will be turned over to the City of Roanoke Commonwealth Attorney’s Office for review.

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Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.

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