Memorial Service Set For Man Killed In Standoff

A memorial service is set for a Manteo man who was killed during a police standoff Monday night.

Dennis Vonella, who retired as chief inspector for Baltimore County Public Utilities, will have a funeral in Maryland on Sunday. There will also be a memorial service on Monday at the Nags Head Pier House starting at 1:00 p.m.

Vonella was killed after deputies say he shot at them three times during the standoff at his home. Deputies say he had become despondent and indicated he wanted to commit suicide.


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Dare County deputies say a man was shot and killed Monday night after an armed standoff at his home in Manteo.

Deputies say Dennis Vonella was despondent and threatened to commit suicide. They say during the 90 minute standoff the man three times fired at officers.

The standoff started around 9:25 p.m. at a home on Vista Lake Drive in Manteo.

Initially officers coaxed Vonella out of a bedroom and say the man approached them with a weapon. They ordered him to drop the handgun, and he refused. Attempts to use a taser on the man failed. Deputies say Vonella began firing at them and they retreated out of the home.

Deputies, along with Manteo police, Nags Head police and state troopers, then set up a perimeter around the house and made contact with the man via the telephone.

Around 10:50 p.m. deputies say Vonella came out on the back deck and fired at deputies. One officer returned fire and the man went back inside.

A short time later Vonella returned to the deck and fired again. At that point two officers returned fire and shot Vonella.

The sheriff's department says none of the responding officers were injured.

Because of departmental policy, the two officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave pending the results of an SBI investigation.


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  • by still saddened on Oct 5, 2011 at 05:15 PM
    everyone that has posted something, their lifes went on..and the people that didnt even know him that had an opinion about the situation most likly have forgotten about it also. I have not forgotten and neither has my other half..we still miss him every day and to read back on what some people had said is discusting..it wasnt your place to have an opinion. smile when you look at your daddies..we cant look at ours
  • by aaron b Location: nags head nc on Apr 22, 2010 at 10:04 AM
    i new dennis since the time i was 7 i use to go to the pier every day and see that man he would talk about fishing and war storys he would even let me sneak out on the pier when i had no money and risk his job so if you think this man was just another lonney ben think diffrentley cause even though um only thirteen i know what it takes to be an honest person and dennis was just that despite how good of a man he was he always told me and my friend the only way he would go out is in a body bag he forfilled his dream and killed many more but to me he is a great man and his family does not deserve this sincerly aaron bowman
  • by Richard Garcia Location: Col. Oh. on Oct 9, 2009 at 01:38 PM
    I was very close with Vonella while with the ARPS' in Nam 1969-1970.I praise God for him. He reminded me that we can forget the war, but the people that we were in it with I have a number of photos if family wants
  • by Gerry Location: Baltimore on Jan 8, 2009 at 01:45 AM
    My precious son we knew nothing of your tormentif only you would have came to us we may have been able help you.For what ever reason you didnt only you know.Iknow you are in heaven and we will be with you once again You are our first born child and we welcomed you with such great joy.but we will hold you once again in heaven DADDY AND MOMMY
  • by laura Location: enterprise on Jan 6, 2009 at 11:49 AM
    dennis was my father when mine was not there i am married to his son. please just everyone know that post tramatic stress syndorme was to blame here. no one can fathom what he went through in vietnam. you dont know what was done to his friends. he was a crack shot if he wanted the officers dead he would have killed them. i know that.his family knows that.if you have ill feelings of this situation and want to say that he killed him self..well i say go to hell. he did not kill him self but for the officers who tried their best with the tecnology they had we feel no blame twards them. my children will never know how great of a grandfather they would have had due to the vietnam war, and the help he couldnt recive when coming home. i hope anyone else out there with any problems has someone to talk to. if you dont please by all means contact me. im aware that everyone can read this and please only email with respecful things. vonellaflavored@aol.com. i cant have this happen to anyone else.
  • by St. Louis Metropolitan P.D. (Ret.) Location: St. Louis Mo. on Dec 24, 2008 at 12:10 PM
    There have been many comments here, and I would like to add mine. As has been said previously, Dennis was a fine man. He was an outstanding soldier, (Purple Heart, Air medal, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and National Defence Service Medal). He was also awarded a Combat Infantrymans Badge and Aircrewmans wings. He served honorably with the Air Cavalry Troop, Aero Rifle Platoon of The 11th Armored Cavalry Regt.(BLACKHORSE). He was a great family man and a wonderful friend. We will all miss him. The police do the very best they can to keep from injuring anyone. They also are charged with the protection of all the rest of us. This a situation that all policeman dread. Having been a career law enforcement officer for 34 years my heart also goes out to those officers. For whatever reason my friend made a bad choice. When you say a prayer for Dennis, also say one for the officers.
  • by Anon Location: Heaven on Dec 24, 2008 at 05:18 AM
    Just so everyone knows...when our brothers arrived home from Vietnam, there was no help for them. There was no counseling, no drugs to help with behavior or emotions, no anything. Had these men gotten the help they deserved...many lives would have been spared. Sad. God Bless & Happy Holidays to all.
  • by JNR Location: Montgomery Village, Md on Dec 23, 2008 at 07:30 AM
    This is one of the saddest stories I have ever heard. As I am 58 years old and a retired police officer who was involved in a shooting, I can appreciate and understand the difficult choices made by the Dare County Sheriff's Deputies. Further, Vietnam continues to kill. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a real disease that affects many, and is not to be taken lightly. And it appears that Vietnam and PTSD have again taken another victim. God's Love to all.
  • by Beth on Dec 22, 2008 at 08:49 AM
    Dennis was also my uncle.I am in shock, that this tragedy took place.I am grateful that no one else was hurt like neighbors or the police officers who risk their lives everyday.My uncle was mentally damaged because of the Vietnam War, and he properly suffered from PTSD. Some times it's too late to reach for help, and I believe with my whole heart this was the case. I pray that my uncle can finally rest in peace. I thank all of the police officers who were at the scene for doing everything in their power to try to end it peacefully. I pray for the officers who had to fire their guns. I pray for you and your families. Rest in peace Uncle Dennis.
  • by James Location: Manteo on Dec 22, 2008 at 08:14 AM
    Thanks for posting Dennis's memorial service. We will miss him.
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