The Dickenson County Sheriff leaves Democratic Party. Sheriff Jeremy Fleming announced that he is changing his political affiliation from Democrat to Independent. Fleming is the fourth Southwest Virginia Sheriff to leave the party since 2020, joining Smyth County Sheriff Chip Shuler, Tazewell County Sheriff Brian Hieatt, and Buchanan County Sheriff John McClanahan. Two more local officials have left the Democratic Party as well, Russell County Commonwealth's Attorney Zack Stoots and Buchanan County Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald Addington. Fleming cites "far left-wing extremists" in the Democratic Party as the reason he is changing his political affiliation.
A Scott County man has been sentenced for indecent acts against children. The Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney reports that 46-year-old Thomas D. Shortt has been sentenced in two different districts after pleading guilty to reproducing child pornography and "taking indecent liberties" with male children, including an eight-year-old in 2012. In Wise County, Shortt pleaded guilty to eight counts of indecent liberties with a minor child and received a 40-year sentence in the penitentiary with 15 years suspended. In Scott County, he pleaded to six counts of reproducing child pornography and four counts of taking indecent liberties with a child, receiving another active term of 25 years in prison. Shortt will be on probation for 50 years following his release and must register as a sex offender. He remains in the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield, awaiting transfer to the Virginia Department of Corrections.
Active shooter call at Volunteer High School appears to be a hoax. The Hawkins County Sheriff's Office reports that person claiming to be inside a bathroom at the school came called. The person said that they had been bullied and planned to begin shooting a handgun in the school gym. Volunteer was placed on lockdown. As many students as possible were evacuated on the initial search and the rest of the students were evacuated on a second search. The HCSO says that at this time it appears that the call was a hoax as no shots appeared to have been fired. There was one student transported by Hawkins County EMS, but it was unrelated to the report, as a student had a seizure. The school is safe and did resume today. The Church Hill Police Department says that the caller did not provide their name, but the call has been recorded. The investigation is ongoing.
Ku Klux Klan flyers have appeared in Wise County. The Wise County Sheriff's Office reports that several flyers were found on Sunday, including in Sheriff Grant Kilgore's driveway. The flyers are packed in a plastic bag along with some birdseed for weight. According to Kilgore, the WCSO were dispatched to residences in the Pole Bridge Road area. The Coeburn Police Department also received reports about flyers. The flyers refer to Mexican drug cartels, critical race theory, Antifa, 100% Americanism, and pray for white Americans. They also contained the name of a Pelham, North Carolina-based Klan chapter along with hotline phone numbers, a podcast, and website information. The flyers have been referred to the state's law enforcement and Department of Homeland Security Fusion Center. If anyone has information on the flyers, they are asked to call the WCSO at 276-328-3566.