A suspect involved in the robbery of the Goodman and Sons jewelry store in James City County died Thursday morning from injuries he sustained in a shootout with police during a police pursuit Tuesday. Police closed out the day with the capture of the second suspect, 40-year-old Eric Roach, who had been on the run since bailing from the getaway car during a running gun battle with police.
Lt. Eric Owens of the Henrico County Police Department said 33-year-old Basil Bilal Berry of Philadelphia was shot during the car chase that began in Charles City County and ended when the suspect crashed his car in Henrico.
Police were unable to speak with the suspect before he died, according to Maj. Steve Rubino of the James City County Police Department. Rubino said police are unsure if Berry’s wounds were self-inflicted or from the police. An autopsy will be conducted in Richmond, Owens said.
Henrico County Police announced just after midnight Friday that the second suspect, Roach, also of Philadelphia, had been apprehended.
At 10:04 p.m. Thursday, one of the officers participating in the massive search for Roach drove his police vehicle over the railroad tracks on Beulah Road, a quarter-mile from Charles City Road, when he spotted Roach walking along the tracks. The officer then radioed for backup. Three Henrico officers challenged Roach with commands and he offered no resistance, then was taken into custody without incident.
“I am very proud of our officers,” said Henrico Police Chief Douglas A. Middleton in a statement to the media. “They were relentless in the search and they displayed professionalism, self-restraint, commonsense and good judgment.
“The success of the apprehension would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of our law enforcement partners with the Virginia State Police, Richmond Police Department, Charles City Sheriff’s Office, James City County Police Department, Philadelphia Police Department, Upper Marion Township Police Department, and the United States Marshal’s Service. Henrico County Division of Police would also like to the thank all of the media outlets for closely following the events of this ordeal and disseminating the information.
Henrico police said Roach was wanted on charges of felony eluding law enforcement and possession of firearm by a felon.
Rubino said the suspects, both armed with handguns and wearing pantyhose as masks, went into the jewelry store at 10:55 a.m. Tuesday and forced the four employees and a man working on the air conditioning system into the back of the store. The suspects then zip-tied the five victims and made them lie on the floor. The suspects stole watches and jewelry, along with all of the victims’ keys and one female victim’s cell phone.
Prior to being tied up, one of the employees hit the silent alarm. When the first James City County police officers on scene came to the front of the store, the suspects fled out the back. A witness saw the suspects jump into a black SUV and turn onto Old News Road.
Rubino said the JCC Police Department sent the description of the car and information of the crime to surrounding police departments, telling them to keep an “eye out.” They received call a short time later from a Charles City County Sheriff’s Office deputy in an unmarked vehicle who believed he was following the suspects, who were in a black SUV with tinted windows and a Pennsylvania license plate.
The deputy then followed the vehicle and waited for assistance from marked vehicles. Once the marked vehicles arrived, the officers attempted to stop the vehicle as they crossed into Henrico County but the vehicle tried to speed away, according to Rubino. For a detailed story about the Charles City deputy’s initial pursuit, read a Richmond Times-Dispatch story here.
Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Thomas Molnar said shortly before noon Tuesday the Henrico County Police Department and the Virginia State Police Department joined the chase near Interstate 295 and Route 5 in Henrico County. The suspects shot at the officers during the chase and the officers returned fire, Molnar said.
Lt. Eric Owens of the Henrico County Police Department said the vehicle stopped at Technology Park Drive in Henrico County and Roach fled into the woods. Owens is unsure if Roach was the shooter during the pursuit.
Rubino said the vehicle continued until the Berry crashed the car into a wooded area on Charles City Road in Henrico, where additional shots were fired. The Henrico SWAT team responded, extracted the suspect from the vehicle and took him into custody. They then transported the suspect to the VCU Medical Center in Richmond, where he died Thursday morning.
Owens said a perimeter had been set at Technology Park Drive, and Henrico County and James City County police searched until 11:45 p.m. Tuesday for Roach, who had fled on foot into the woods. Virginia State Police canine units, a tactical team and helicopters assisted in the search.
Rubino said there was evidence in the car that linked the suspects to the Goodman and Sons robbery.