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Attorneys: Man shot by deputy was in mental health crisis

GROTTOES (AP) A Virginia public defender’s office says a man who was fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy was suffering from a mental health crisis at the time.

The Staunton Public Defender’s Office released a statement May 15 about the fatal shooting a day earlier of Jeffrey J. Bruce, The News Leader reported.

The office had been “working with Mr. Bruce and his family to find help for his struggles with mental health and addiction, stemming in part from the trauma he experienced during almost two decades in state prison,” the statement said.

It went on to say that Bruce, 48, was “suffering from a mental health crisis at the time he was shot.”

Virginia State Police, who are investigating the shooting in Augusta County, have said it took place after deputies responded to a 911 call about a break-in.

Deputies encountered Bruce and then chased him as he ran away from a trailer and toward nearby woods, according to a state police news release.

A deputy shot Bruce after he charged toward him with a knife, according to the news release. He died at the scene.

The public defenders also said they “expect the State Police to conduct a thorough and unbiased investigation into this killing.”

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