Virginia police claim that during a traffic stop in the summer of 2018, a teenage girl in custody with her hands cuffed behind her back committed suicide by shooting herself in the head with a gun that was not a police weapon.
The incident raised more questions than there are logical answers to, her family said. A look at her Facebook reveals a girl who was suffering, who spoke about overcoming something horrible in her past and who, based on her posts, suffered from depression. Still, where did the gun come from? How was she able to access a gun while handcuffed in police custody?
On July 25, in Chesapeake, Sarah Wilson, 19, and Holden Medlin, 27, were pulled over by police. Cops put the teen in handcuffs, behind her back, and placed her near a police car while they dealt with Medlin who police said was combative and required to be fired on with a police Taser.
While they were doing that, police said Wilson shot herself. Not with a police weapon, cops said. The car stop resulted in a drug arrest for Medlin. Wilson’s family and friends were demanding answers.
Seven months later, they got one. The medical examiner ruled it was a suicide and that despite having her hands cuffed behind her back, she shot herself in the mouth according to local media reports.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Had Medlin’s Car Under Surveillance, Pulled Him Over & Put Wilson in Handcuffs. She Shot Herself, Police Said
According to local media reports quoting Chesapeake police spokesman Leo Kosinski, Wilson was riding with Medlin in a white 1996 Lexus when it was pulled over by police in the late afternoon on July 25. During the stop, police separated the two and Wilson was handcuffed with her hands behind her back.
“The police told me that they had been surveilling the driver in particular that day, I don’t know for how long, and they decided they were going to call a uniformed officer to do a traffic stop so it was anything but routine,” Sarah’s mother Dawn Wilson told local media.
While one cop had Wilson handcuffed and posted up against a police RMP, Medlin was resisting, “became combative and tried to flee the scene,” it was reported. The officer with Wilson left her and went to assist in subduing Medlin, which was done with a Taser, according to police.
Authorities also said while Medlin was fighting off cops, he swallowed a baggie with what police suspect was drugs. While this was going on, police say Wilson shot herself while handcuffed.
Kosinski did not explain where the gun came from given it was not a police firearm, local media reported.
Police said Medlin had oxycodone, suboxone and a syringe and was charged with possession of drugs and paraphernalia. But he was also charged with “possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm with schedule I or II drugs and fleeing from police.” He’ll appear in court Aug. 13.
2. If Police Accounts Are Accurate, Where Did the Gun Come From & How Was Wilson Able to Shoot Herself With it, Her Family Wants to Know. Was it Medlin’s Gun? If Yes, Did Wilson Have it?
Wilson’s mother told local media, “It doesn’t make sense and even if it did, even if it was true, which I don’t believe, there’s still a huge level of negligence on their part.”
Wilson’s mother asked rhetorically, “Why is there no accountability for the situation? These procedures are in place so people are safe, the people on the street, the police, and the people in custody.”
Kosinski told local media, “We would want to have an officer with every suspect at the time, but when a suspect becomes combative it becomes a safety issue.”
Given Medlin was charged with gun possession, it’s conceivable that Wilson had his gun and used it to shoot herself. Which begs another question that apparently will not be answered with video evidence.
3. Police Bodycam Was Activated & Then Deactivated, Authorities Said, So It’s Not Clear if There is Footage. An Investigation is Underway
It’s not clear which of the two officers was wearing a body camera during the stop but it’s reported the camera was activated but reportedly was “knocked off during the struggle with Medlin.”
It’s reported police said the “camera hit the ground in a way that turned it ‘offline’ preventing it from recording.” Kosinski told local media once Medlin was detained, the officer “reattached the body camera and turned it back on to record.” But, police told a reporter, the “camera was off at the time of Wilson’s suicide, and did not capture her death.”
“It was due to the suspect’s actions that the camera was kicked offline,” Kosinski was quoted as saying.
The Chesapeake Police Department has not released the bodycam footage and won’t given it’s investigating the incident, it was reported.
4. On Both Their Facebook Pages, Wilson & Medlin Say They Were Married. A GoFundMe Has Been Created to Help Pay for Funeral Costs & a Private Autopsy
Both Wilson and Medlin have their Facebook pages listing the other as their spouse. There are not many pictures of the couple save a few on Facebook.
A GoFundMe has been created with a goal of $1 million. Begun by Rebecca ‘Becca’ Louise (her middle name; her surname is not known). On the page she writes, “A few days ago a good friend of mine named Sarah Wilson was shot & killed. I put this gofundme together to help give Sarah the proper funeral she deserves and fund getting justice for what happened to her. We need as much help as we can get, a million was just a general number.”