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Posted: 12/15/2005 4:21:09 PM EDT
www.dnronline.com/news_details.php?AID=2052&CHID=1



Shooting Investigation Continues Posted 2005-12-14

Warrant Says Officer In the Car When Bullet Hit


By David Reynolds





A young man arrested Tuesday morning and charged with shooting at a police officer told investigators he was angry about an August arrest for drunken driving, according to a warrant filed in circuit court.

Andrey Pinkevich, 21, was convicted of drunken driving and obstruction of justice in Rockingham County General District Court three days before the shooting.

Now, he is charged with attempted capital murder of a police officer and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony, according to court documents.

Denys Digalov, 20, was charged Tuesday afternoon as an accessory to attempted capital murder of a police officer.

Police are still investigating and haven’t stated a motive for the shooting.

A family member of one of those charged said police were interviewing two more young men Wednesday afternoon in connection with the incident.

The warrant, meanwhile, offers more details of what happened and what led police to Pinkevich. It also reveals how close one shot came to hitting the officer.

The Sound Of Breaking Glass

The warrant, filed on Wednesday, says a Harrisonburg police officer was seated in his car, writing a ticket, when the passenger-side window shattered.

He got out and inspected the small hole near the top of the window and realized he was under fire.

Soon, two more officers pulled alongside the hit cruiser and parked on Fairview Avenue near South Main Street.

Two more shots came from the direction of Port Republic Road and South Main Street.

Police drove from the scene, parked up the street, then walked back.

Four more shots were fired at the officers.

The Suspect Interview

The night of the shooting, SWAT teams scoured the neighborhood, securing the area and searching for suspects. Officers diverted traffic from South Main, and the Harrisonburg Rockingham Emergency Communications Center called residents, telling them to stay inside.

After midnight, police limited their search to the apartment complex at 15 S. Main St., a three-story brick building at the corner of Maryland Avenue.

The warrant says four .22-caliber shell casings were found in the parking lot. And another by an outdoor staircase.

A .22-caliber rifle and a .410-gauge shotgun were found wrapped in a blue sheet, stashed in bushes nearby, the warrant says.

Investigators knocked on apartment P, on the second floor, and a young man answered. After several questions, the warrant says, Pinkevich agreed to have his apartment searched.

Police found two .22-caliber rounds in a bedroom, a .410-gauge shell in a closet, and a blue sheet in another bedroom, according to the warrant.

Police also took clothing, a screen and a wad of plastic bubble wrap, according to the warrant.

Markings from the shell casings in the parking lot matched the ammunition in Pinkevich’s apartment, the warrant says.

At Home

While police continued to investigate, a family member of one of the men charged was scrambling to get a loved one out of jail.

John Nicolai Jr. said he’s securing a loan, putting his house and farm up as collateral.

He needs $5,000, 10 percent of the $50,000 bond a judge set for his stepson Digalov’s release from Rockingham County Jail.

Nicolai says Digalov wasn’t involved in the shooting, and that he won’t leave town if released.

Still, he says, he is not happy the young man was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"He’s just going to have to sit and rot until I get this loan to go through," Nicolai said.

Contact David Reynolds at 574-6278 or reynolds@dnronline.com

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