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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Virginia
Christopher R. Kavanaugh, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 27, 2023

Shooter in Lynchburg Walmart Shootout Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison

LYNCHBURG, Va. – A Salem, Virginia man who was involved in a shootout in Lynchburg during a methamphetamine deal in November 2021, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 20 years in federal prison.

Jeriwon Lee Taylor, 42, pled guilty in May 2023 to one count of distributing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and one count of discharging and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

“The United States Attorney’s Office is proud to partner with ATF and the Lynchburg Police Department to hold accountable those individuals who commit violent crimes in our communities,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today. “This case is emblematic of the relationship between the illegal drug trade and violent crime – a pattern we are seeing throughout the Western District of Virginia – and one we are working to stop.”

“It is clear that drug traffickers have no respect for human lives and conduct criminal business in the open public, disregarding the damage they can cause to human life or property. Thanks to the combined efforts of our local law enforcement partners, subsequent search warrants were executed at locations associated with Taylor’s Drug Trafficking Organization that resulted in the seizure of fentanyl, heroin, fake pills, methamphetamine and the retrieval of the firearm used in the shooting. We will continue our efforts aimed at disrupting and stopping these illegal endeavors,” said Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Washington Division.

“We are grateful for the assistance of our federal and state law enforcement partners in investigating and prosecuting this case to ensure those who endanger our community are held fully accountable for their actions. This incident could have easily taken an innocent person’s life. Our partnerships with our community and other law enforcement agencies are critical to a safer Lynchburg,” said Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema.

“When we as law enforcement professionals collaborate effectively, our communities see tangible results such as this,” ATF Washington Field Division Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Weddel said. “We will continue to work alongside our partners to disrupt the illegal possession of firearms, distribution of narcotics and other acts of violence that negatively impact public safety.”

According to court documents, on November 21, 2021, Taylor arranged to meet an individual in a Walmart parking lot in Lynchburg, Virginia to sell methamphetamine. When the buyer, Kendall Simonton arrived, he got into Taylor’s vehicle, pointed a gun at Taylor’s face and took the drugs from him.

After the robbery, Simonton left Taylor’s vehicle and began walking away. However, Taylor also got out of his vehicle with a firearm, and the two men began shooting at each other. Both Taylor and Simonton fired multiple shots at each other, ducking behind various cars in the parking lot. Eventually, Simonton ran out of the parking lot and Taylor drove away.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Lynchburg Police Department, with assistance from the Virginia State Police, investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Jones and Special Assistant United States Attorney J. Parker Gochenour, an Assistant Attorney General with the Virginia Attorney General’s Major Crimes and Emerging Threats Section prosecuted the case.


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