A man was sentenced Thursday to 35 years in prison for the attempted murder of nine law enforcement officers during a 2019 standoff in Alleghany County.
Marshall Dale Meadows, 61, pleaded guilty in July to nine counts of attempted capital murder and five firearms charges related to a two-hour shootout on March 20, 2019. He was sentenced Thursday in Alleghany County Circuit Court to a 35-year active sentence, plus 180 years of suspended time.
Neighbors called 911 when shots rang out through a quiet neighborhood in the town of Iron Gate.
“Houses and vehicles were pelted by shotgun blasts and rifle fire as Meadows fired multiple rounds through a 12-gauge shotgun, a .30-06 rifle and a .22 magnum rifle,” said a release from Alleghany County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Gardner. “As law enforcement officers tried to secure the scene, Meadows blew out three windows in his home, firing repeatedly at officers while they scrambled for cover behind trees and vehicles.”
Meadows ignored commands to surrender as he moved from window to window, spraying gunfire at responding officers from the Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office, Clifton Forge Police Department, Covington Police Department and Virginia State Police. The agencies worked together to close streets and protect residents, and the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office brought an armored vehicle to rescue deputies and officers pinned down by gunfire.
“In a police interview, Meadows claimed he had been drinking all day and became angry about unsanitary conditions created by cats belonging to a woman who lived there and who was also present during the shooting,” the release said. “Officers were able to get the woman safely out of the home.”
Sheriff’s deputies Capt. Steve Thrasher and Sgt. Chris Fisher used a cellphone conversation to persuade Meadows to put down his weapon and surrender.
During his sentencing, Meadows apologized to officers seated in the courtroom, who did not return fire during the standoff.
“It is a miracle that nobody was killed,” Gardner said. “These officers defused the situation and ended it without loss of life.”