Suspect in assaults, robbery dies of self-inflicted gunshot after police pursuit

Brandon Addeo
York Dispatch
Dakota James Toms

An Adams County man sought by York County police on felony charges fatally shot himself after being stopped by state troopers in Virginia.

Dakota James Toms, 28, of Abbottstown, died Monday afternoon of a self-inflicted gunshot on Interstate 81 in Montgomery County, Virginia, according to information from Virginia State Police and Northern York County Regional Police.

Toms was wanted by two York County police departments on felony charges for two incidents on Sunday in which he allegedly assaulted two women, pointed a gun at one and stole one of their cars.  

Police pursuit: Sheriff's deputies in Virginia found Toms at about 1:30 p.m. Monday and tried to pull his vehicle over after learning he was wanted in Pennsylvania. A pursuit began on Interstate 81 in Botetourt County, and Virginia state troopers joined the chase.

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The pursuit traveled through two more Virginia counties before law enforcement stopped Toms' vehicle.

More:York County robbery suspect shoots self after pursuit in Virginia: Police

"The pursuit continued south on Interstate 81 through Roanoke County and into Montgomery County. Near the 119 mile marker, state police contained the vehicle and brought it to a stop," a Virginia State Police news release states. "As the troopers approached the vehicle, the male driver fired a revolver while seated inside the vehicle. Despite rescue efforts administered by the troopers, the male subject succumbed to the self-inflicted gunshot wound at the scene."

Virginia State Police said troopers did not fire any shots and no one else was injured. The Roanoke, Virginia, medical examiner will perform an autopsy. 

First incident: Local law enforcement agencies were seeking Toms for two alleged assaults that occurred Sunday and considered him "armed and dangerous."

The first incident occurred at a motel in Paradise Township just before 6 p.m. Sunday. Northern York County Regional Police responded there for a reported assault, according to a news release.

More:'Armed and dangerous' suspect wanted for assaulting two women, robbing one: Police

A woman told officers Toms broke into her motel room by kicking in a window air conditioner. He then allegedly choked the woman and banged her head against a wall.

There was a second woman at the scene who tried to intervene when she heard the first woman screaming; Toms allegedly pulled a knife on the second woman before stealing her car and leaving the scene, the release states.

Second incident: The second incident occurred later Sunday, around 11:30 p.m. at a residence in Dillsburg, and it involved Toms and the woman who tried to intervene in the earlier incident.

She told officers that Toms confronted her and asked if she had called the police on him for the incident at the motel, according to Carroll Township Police. 

When the woman confirmed she had, Toms then prepared to leave in her vehicle, which he still had. The woman tried to take her car keys back, but Toms allegedly pointed a gun at her, grabbed her neck and threw her to the ground, a news release states.