Commonwealth’s Attorney releases tape, as jury says Xzavier Hill shooting was justified.
Editor’s note: ( In this story, we link to the grand jury report on the Xzavier Hill case, the evidence record and dash cam video. Some of the links provide graphic photos and detail. )
RICHMOND-Officials won’t file charges in the shooting death of Xzavier Hill. On Friday night, Virginia State Police and the Goochland County Commonwealth’s Attorney released details from the grand jury hearing held this week. Jury members returned a unanimous decision that “the actions of the officers were justified in the exercise of deadly force,” the statement read. “Criminal charges against the two Virginia State Police troopers involved are not warranted.”
The Goochland County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office provided the entire grand jury report. They also released the dash cam video, which Hill’s family had been calling for over the last month. It shows events from the first point where the troopers started following Hill to the situation after the shooting. Goochland officials also released the evidence documented in the case. This includes the gun found in Hill’s car, interviews with Hill’s girlfriend and others.
“Xzavier Deyonte Hill initiated and continued to engage in an escalating course of dangerous conduct, resulting in a violent confrontation with law enforcement,” the grant jury’s statement read. “Mr. Hill’s failure to comply with the commands of the Troopers and then introduce a firearm into a rapidly evolving event provided a reasonable basis for the officers to believe they were in imminent danger.”
After reviewing the evidence, the grand jury felt there was no probable cause to believe either trooper committed any criminal offense during the Jan. 9 incident.
“This body unanimously determines that the actions of Trooper Bone and Trooper Layton were reasonable, justified and supported by the facts and circumstances as they were known to the troopers at that time,” the statement reads.
What The Grand Jury Saw
At about 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 9, Troopers Layton and Boone were monitoring the westbound lanes of Interstate 64. This was near the Route 288 interchange in Henrico County. A white Mercedes with only one headlight came down the road and they clocked it at 96 mph in a 65 mph zone. The troopers then started following the vehicle. Dash cam video and the grand jury report show the Mercedes staying between 93 to 97 mph, while slightly swerving between lanes.
The troopers followed the Mercedes as it headed into Goochland County. As the lanes went from three to two, they turned on the emergency lights and ordered the Mercedes’ driver to pull over. Instead, the video shows the Mercedes’ driver cut off the car’s lights, while accelerating to 120 mph. That started a very brief chase which ended minutes later, when the Mercedes pulled over on the right shoulder of the road.
As the troopers slowed down, the driver suddenly accelerated again and attempted a U-turn, losing control and going slightly down the embankment. The video shows the driver kept trying to accelerate and get back on the road, but due to the muddy ground, the car’s back wheels just kept spinning. Eventually, the driver gave up trying to get away, as both troopers approached the car with their guns drawn.
Here’s a section from the transcript the grand jury saw:
At this point, the Mercedes driver, Xzavier Hill, stretched his left hand out of the driver’s side window. He looks to be reaching for the driver’s door handle and keeps telling officers that his door won’t open.
Hill was hit by one bullet in his left hand, one bullet on the left side of his face and one bullet at the base of his neck.
After the Shooting
Troopers continued to issue orders to Hill after firing the shots. Then they started looking for the gun seen in his vehicle. It took more than a minute for Bone to find the weapon in the front passenger seat of the Mercedes.
After locating the gun, they removed Hill from his car, checked his pulse and called for emergency medical services. The troopers soon found Hill was telling the truth. His driver’s side door handle didn’t work and the door couldn’t open.
Troopers removed a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun, with serial number FCL1110. Remember that serial number. It’ll come back up. As for the gun itself, there was a cartridge jammed in the chamber, with no magazine. Instead, the ammunition magazine was on the floorboard.
In the days following the shooting, Hill’s family members raised two points. First, he didn’t own a gun. Second, if his left hand was outside of the car, how did the left-handed Hill try to reach back, grab a gun and fire on police, as the troopers claimed?
The prosecution told the grand jury about a Norfolk resident who reported his Smith & Wesson missing on Jan. 10. He said it had disappeared from his car sometime between Jan. 7 and Jan. 10. The only people who had been in the vehicle in that time, the Norfolk resident said, was his girlfriend’s sister and her friend, Xzavier Hill. The gun’s serial number was FCL1110, the same as the weapon found in Hill’s car on Jan. 9.
As for how a left-handed person would reach back and fire with their right hand, the prosecution showed the grand jury photos of Hill, taken from his own smartphone. In multiple pictures from last November, Hill is seen posing with a gun, holding it in his right hand. The images don’t show Hill firing or aiming the gun. He’s posing for the camera in each. The prosecution argued the photos “clearly shows Mr. Hill was possessed of such ability as to utilize a handgun with his right hand.”
Grand jury members took this information and said that both troopers acted correctly. They said Hill introduced a handgun into the situation and caused the troopers to feel threatened.
Brian Carlton is Dogwood’s managing editor. You can reach him at email@example.com.