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Police identify officer involved in fatal shooting during standoff in Danville

Police said Officer Nelson was on the scene in the 1000 block of Halifax Road for a reports of shots fired Sunday around 12:47 a.m. (WSET)

DANVILLE, Va. (WSET) -- The Danville Police Department has identified the officers involved in a fatal shooting in Danville over the weekend.

Police said Officer Justin P. Nelson has more than 12 years combined experience in law enforcement.

He was previously a Danville officer and Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office deputy and was recently rehired by the Danville Police Department, sworn in on December 28.

Police said Officer Nelson was on the scene in the 1000 block of Halifax Road for a reports of shots fired Sunday around 12:47 a.m.

When officers knocked on the door of the home, shots were fired from inside the home toward officers, forcing them to take cover and establish a perimeter around the property.

While officers attempted to negotiate a peaceful surrender, police said Richard R. Towler, 54, of Danville, came out of the home shooting at officers and Officer Nelson returned fire, hitting him.

Towler was pronounced dead at the scene.

When officers went inside the home, they found Crystal L. Averett, 38, of Danville dead.

No officers were injured.

Virginia State Police is investigating both the officer-involved shooting and Averett's death.

Nelson was placed on administrative assignment while the investigation is ongoing.

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