An ex Virginia State Trooper was killed during a shootout with California police after he kidnapped a teen and then allegedly killed her family.
Austin Lee Edwards,28 drove from Chesterfield, Virginia to Riverside, California Friday to meet a teen he met online.
Apparently Edwards had been speaking with the teen and pretending to be someone he was not. During that time he obtained the teens personal information and drove to her home.
Edwards allegedly parked in a neighbors driveway before waking to the teens home, killing her family and kidnapping her.
It was said that around 11 a.m. Friday morning a neighbor contacted authorities after they saw the teen appeared to be in distress while getting into a red vehicle.
Moments later police received calls regarding a home on fire not far from where the teen was seen leaving.
Once the fire department arrived they discovered three adults deceased inside the residence. They were later identified as Mark Winek, 69, Sharie Winek, 65, and their 38-year-old daughter Brooke Winek, who was said to be the teens grandparents and mother.
Riverside police released a description of Edwards vehicle to local authorities in the San Bernardino County and later spotted the vehicle.
Edwards opened fire at authorities while the teen was in the vehicle and they fired back multiple rounds striking him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The teen was released to protective custody and unharmed.
While investigating authorities learned that Edwards was a former Virginia State Trooper and was assigned to Henrico County within the agency’s Richmond Division until his resignation on Oct. 28. He also Washington County Sheriff’s Department in Virginia.
At this time it is still unclear what led to the victims gruesome killings. The actual cause of death is still unknown.
Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez called the case “yet another horrific reminder of the predators existing online who prey on our children.”