Registered sex offender killed in shootout with officers in Walmart parking lot in Virginia, police say

News

SOUTH HILL, Va. (WRIC) — Twenty hours after a man died following an exchange of gunfire with police in a Walmart parking lot Thursday, Virginia State Police identified the deceased: 44-year-old Steven B. Matze of Saxe.

Authorities say Matze’s remains were transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond to be examined for an autopsy.

Steven Matze, pictured in March of this year, as he appears on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry.

A spokesperson for Virginia State Police said the incident occurred at about 6:50 p.m. on Thursday, at the Walmart in the 300 block of Furr Street in the town limits.

Virginia State Police said the officer located Matze in the driver’s seat of a Ford F-150 pickup truck in the parking lot of the store. The truck was parked on the side of the parking lot.

An updated news release from police Friday afternoon added that the officer approached the driver’s side, and a shot rang out from inside the pickup. The officer returned fire and a handgun was recovered from inside the truck.

Matze died at the scene, but the officer was not injured.

Police could not confirm the circumstances of the man’s death when pressed by WRIC, only adding that they await preliminary findings from the medical examiner.

Charlotte County authorities were searching for Matze earlier this week, saying at the time he may be armed and dangerous.

Matze’s identity also matches a man registered on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry; sentenced in 2011 in Bedford Circuit Court for “use of communications system to contact a minor.”

WRIC Reporter Olivia Jaquith attempted to reach the South Hill Police Department and Mecklenburg County Emergency Communications Department for comment, but both referred WRIC to Virginia State Police.

When WRIC arrived on the scene Friday morning, there was no sign of the shooting scene remaining. The Walmart parking lot was filled with Christmas Eve shoppers, the lot having apparently been cleared since the incident occurred.

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