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Man charged after police shooting

By Tom Jackman
Tom Jackman

A man who led Fairfax County police on a strange chase Thursday afternoon, which included his temporary commandeering of a police car and then his being shot by a Fairfax officer, was identified Friday as Joseph L. Michel, 50, and he was charged with grand larceny -- but not of the police car.

Police said they encountered Michel sitting in a stolen Mercedes 500 SL in the Falls Church area about 4:35 p.m., and that he had a brief altercation with an officer, then ran off. A backup officer drove up and joined the foot chase, but Michel reportedly doubled back, hopped in the backup officer's car and drove off.

Officers pursued the stolen police car through the Falls Church neighborhoods, where Michel eventually wound his way back to the stolen Mercedes. Police said he abandoned his police ride, jumped back in the Mercedes, and drove off again.

On Graham Road near Oakland Avenue, one officer placed "stop sticks" across the road to try to puncture the Mercedes's tires and stop the pursuit. But police said Michel drove around the stop sticks and toward an officer, who apparently fired several times into the Mercedes and struck Michel.

Michel kept driving down Graham Road, and was not seriously wounded. But as he turned on to Route 50, in front of the Loehmann's Plaza shopping center, he pulled over and surrendered, police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said. He was hospitalized with wounds that were not life-threatening, and traffic near Loehmann's Plaza became a ball of confusion for the rest of the night.

Caldwell said Michel was charged with grand larceny for the theft of the Mercedes, and that more charges may be filed.

Michel has a lengthy history in the courts of Northern Virginia, records show, and served six months in 2004 for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Caldwell declined to say how many times Michel was shot or whether he was armed.

-- Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  | November 5, 2010; 5:39 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax, Falls Church, Police Shootings, Tom Jackman, Updates  
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50 years old and still out stealing cars and leading cops on foot a vehicle pursuits? Sounds like a career criminal to me.

Posted by: Chazo | November 5, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to the near-total de-funding of America's community mental health system, many of our mentally ill citizens end up in prison: one in five prisoners suffers from serious mental illness.

50-year-old dudes don't usually steal cars to go joy-riding; these are not the acts of a sane man, or a hardened criminal. In a more civilized society, he would have gotten help before it came to this.

Posted by: vfr2dca | November 6, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I hope he gets charged with attempted murder of the police officer he almost ran down.

There is nothing in this sort to suggest he has a mental imbalance of any kind.

What is wrong with this country is our jails are too soft. How did ever come to be that a person has a right to cable TV and air conditioning? Couple that with criminals serving less than half of their sentences.

I work 80 hours a week for the material things I have and some guy who has been in and out of prison should only serve 6 months for stealing and damaging them.

No I say. Build bigger prisons and lock them up for their sentences.

Posted by: mike621812 | November 7, 2010 6:42 AM | Report abuse

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