Commonwealth’s Attorney Griffith issues statement on Oct. 12 incident

Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney Justin L. Griffith issued the following statement on an incident that occurred earlier in the week.

Griffith said:

On Monday, Oct. 12, a felon who is on the sex offender registry made the decision to put on a wig, a mask, and enter a local gas station in our county. He made the decision to point a hand gun at the store clerk. He made the decision to demand money from the register and attempt to leave the premises.

He made the mistake of thinking the next customer that walked in would allow him to leave. He made the mistake of thinking that customer, a brave Samaritan, wouldn’t fight back after being pistol whipped by the felon armed robber. He made the mistake of choosing to do this in Pulaski County.

God blessed Pulaski County in that moment with a brave Samaritan who chose not to let the wicked flee. There are times in life people face a decision of fight or flight, and our brave Samaritan chose to fight, by defending our county. He refused to see the terror on the store clerk’s face and hear the fear in her voice and do nothing. He chose to ensure the neighboring residences, future store clerks, and the whole county were safe from an armed robber. He is a man who chose others over himself, without hesitation. Others over self is my office’s definition of a hero.

Through the hard work of the Pulaski County Sheriffs Department and with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals, David Lee Simpkins was identified and has been charged with one count of armed robbery in Pulaski County. He is currently in custody and hospitalized. He may not survive his cowardly decision to rob a store in Pulaski County. I can assure you, as long as I am our Commonwealth’s Attorney, our brave Samaritan will not be charged with a crime for having the back of our store clerk, the whole county, and fighting for his life. You never know when you will see a hero in action and make no mistake, that man is a hero for his actions on that day. He is yet another example of how Pulaski County is united and strong.

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According to Griffith, Simpkins, 58 is listed on Virginia’s Sex Offender Registry. He has been convicted in Rockbridge County on two counts of aggravated sexual battery in 1990 and one count of forcible sodomy in Botetourt County, also in 1990. The registry lists his home as being in New Castle, Va.

Pictured: Commonwealth’s Attorney Justin L. Griffith