Wanted suspect runs from police during traffic stop in Newport News

A responding officer was involved in a car accident

Photo Courtesy of Diane Compagnone-Twist

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News police are searching for a wanted suspect who reportedly ran from officers Sunday morning during a traffic stop at the intersection of Sharon Drive and Warwick Boulevard.

Photo of Michael J. VanHook from a 2014 arrest, courtesy James City County Police.
Photo of Michael J. VanHook from a 2014 arrest, courtesy James City County Police.

Officers were conducting a traffic stop around 11:50 a.m. when they noticed the passenger in the car was a suspect wanted by James City County Police for a robbery, according to Newport News police spokesman Lou Thurston.

During the stop, the suspect ran from the car and police chased after him. Officers saw the suspect holding the waist band area of his pants and heard a gunshot.

This suspect was able to get away from the officers. Witnesses in the area told police he had thrown a weapon.

The handgun was found based on what witnesses had reported, and police say it appeared to have been fired.

The suspect was later identified as 36-year-old Michael VanHook. He remains at large.

James City County Police say VanHook is wanted for a robbery and shooting from Oct. 5, 2015.

JCC police tell WAVY.com officers were called to Williamsburg Sentara Hospital on Oct. 5 for a gunshot victim who had arrived there overnight. This victim told police that he had been shot by a man — who was identified as VanHook — as he was getting out of his car at his home.

VanHook then reportedly took cash, lottery tickets, two credit/debit cards, a green dot card and insulin from the victim.

Photo Courtesy of Diane Compagnone-Twist
Photo Courtesy of Diane Compagnone-Twist

An investigation found that VanHook used one of the credit cards and the green dot card later that morning in Newport News. A couple of weeks later, on Oct. 22, VanHook was arrested on unrelated charges, and was found in possession of a gun.

The gun was found to have been the same one that was reportedly used by VanHook in the James City County shooting and robbery.

VanHook was arrested on April 18, 2016 on charges related to that incident. These charges were nolle prossed, or withdrawn, on Aug. 2, 2016, while indictments were being sought from a grand jury.

Police say VanHook was indicted on Sept. 23, 2016 on charges including robbery, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, credit card fraud and credit card theft. He remains wanted on these charges.

Following the chase on Sunday, a responding officer with Newport News police was involved in a crash at Warwick Boulevard and Tabbs Lane. Police say the officer’s emergency equipment was activated.

The officer was taken to a local hospital with non life-threatening injuries. No other injuries were reported during this incident.

No one was charged in this accident.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Michael VanHook is asked to call Newport News or James City County Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

Stay with WAVY.com for updates.