Jason S. Miyares
Attorney General of Virginia

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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Jason S. Miyares
Attorney General


202 North 9th Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
FAX 804-786-1991
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Attorney General Miyares Announces Conviction in Murder of Big Stone Gap Police Officer

WISE, Va. – Attorney General Jason Miyares today announced that Michael Donivan White, age 36, originally of Cross, South Carolina, pleaded guilty to first degree murder of Big Stone Gap Police Officer Michael Chandler in the Wise County Circuit Court. The Office of the Attorney General assisted local prosecutors in securing this conviction. 

Around 4:00 AM on November 13, 2021, Officer Chandler responded to a welfare check at a residence in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Upon arrival, he encountered a vehicle outside the residence, from which White fired eight rounds, striking Officer Chandler twice. Officer Chandler was airlifted to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries later that night. 

 "I am proud of my office’s role in helping to secure this conviction and ensure that justice was served," said Attorney General Miyares. "This outcome is a testament to the dedication and hard work of those who investigated and prosecuted this case. I want to extend my gratitude to the local prosecutors at the United States Attorney’s Office and the Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for their unwavering commitment to justice. Their efforts, alongside state, federal, and local law enforcement, have been crucial in bringing closure to this tragic case and honoring Officer Chandler’s memory."

Chief Deputy Attorney General Chuck Slemp previously served as the Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney and was the original prosecutor in the case. 

Chief Deputy Slemp said, "Officer Chandler gave his life to ensure the safety of others on a dark street in the middle of the night. He is a hero for our entire Commonwealth, and the wounds from this senseless tragedy will never fully heal. We honor his memory and continue his legacy of selfless service. I am grateful that the person responsible for this tragedy has been brought to justice and will face the consequences for the harm he caused."

White is being held without bond. His sentencing hearing is set for August 21 – 21, 2024.