0227_dnr_Officer Winum Memorial_

A Virginia State Police patch taped onto the Stanley Police Department window was left by state trooper Brandon Tester, a close friend of officer Dominic “Nick” Winum, who was killed in the line of duty Friday.

A “be on the lookout” for a suspicious person with a gun led to the traffic stop Friday in which Stanley police officer Dominic “Nick” Winum was shot and killed, the Virginia State Police announced Tuesday.

According to a press release, Winum spotted a 2002 Honda Civic matching the description of the suspect vehicle at 3:15 p.m. and initiated the traffic stop. Both cars pulled over in the 600 block of Judy Lane.

Before Winum got out of his patrol vehicle, the suspect exited the Honda and opened fire, killing Winum.

The suspect, identified as Dakota G. Richards, 29, of Stanley, fled into nearby woods. A handgun was recovered from his vehicle.

Richards was later found hiding in a barn in the 700 block of Marksville Road. There, Richards made a “threatening movement” and was shot by Page County sheriff’s deputies, police say.

Richards, who had a Smith & Wesson M&P-15 rifle in his possession, died of his injuries, according to the state police.

Winum, 48, was a five-year veteran of the Stanley Police Department. He joined the department in 2016, after serving 10 years as a trooper with the Virginia State Police.

Gov. Ralph Northam ordered flags to be flown at half-staff this week to honor Winum.

A two-day celebration of life for Winum begins today.

A viewing will take place at Bethlehem Independent Christian Church on Kite Hollow Road in Stanley from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

A funeral will be held Thursday at Luray High School’s Bulldog Field at 2 p.m.

Staff at Bradley Funeral Home, who are handling the arrangements, are encouraging people to arrive early for the funeral service, as they expect a large turnout.

According to the Page County Sheriff’s Office, police from across the state are expected to attend the service to honor Winum.

Both Harrisonburg police and Rockingham County sheriff’s deputies plan to attend.

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6267 or pdelea@dnronline.com. Follow Pete on Twitter @pdelea_DNR

(1) comment


Still a lot of unanswered questions....and we may never know why this happened. Did the suspect know this policeman, had they had run ins before? Did the suspect do something illegal that caused him to be targeted? Were the weapons he had legally owned? Was the suspect targeting this policeman for some reason or just decided to kill the first one who stopped him? People carry weapons in their vehicles all the time, that is not a crime....did the suspect have a criminal past that would have made it illegal for him to have a firearm?

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