Martinsburg, W.Va., man shot in head

April 08, 1999

Martinsburg shootingBy BRYN MICKLE / Staff Writer, Martinsburg

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A man was hospitalized with head wounds and another was behind bars following a Wednesday afternoon shooting at an apartment complex off U.S. 11 near Martinsburg.

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Kevin Smith, 22, of Martinsburg, was shot twice in the head with a .22-caliber revolver at about 1:22 p.m. outside a building in the Berkeley Garden Apartments, according to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office.

Smith was flown to Fairfax Inova Hospital in Virginia, where a spokeswoman said he was in critical condition Wednesday night.

Deputies charged a 17-year-old Martinsburg youth who lives at Berkeley Garden with reckless endangerment and malicious wounding.

Police would not release the identity of the 17-year-old. They said he would be taken to a juvenile detention facility Wednesday night.


The shooting stemmed from an argument involving several people outside the apartment building, Lt. K.M. Leymaster of the Sheriff's Department said.

He said when the shots were fired, people fled.

Leymaster, who said Smith was acquainted with his assailant, said he was not sure what the argument was about.

He said the investigation is a difficult one because authorities have heard different accounts from the people present.

"We are waiting to hear back from forensics and will continue our investigation," he said.

Yellow police tape surrounded the steps to building 310 where police said Smith's friends carried him after he was shot in a courtyard across the street.

Jennifer Young, an employee at the complex, said she was picking up papers when she heard shooting near unit 16 and saw a man run from the scene.

Police said several people were seen running from the area after the shooting and several suspects were picked up and returned to the scene for questioning.

Shortly after state police brought back one of the men believed to have fled the scene, a fight broke out near where the shooting had taken place.

A few minutes later, a woman's shouts informed police that two men were fighting behind building 310.

Police ran to the rear of the building and found one of the men they had just released scuffling with another man near a playground.

Wednesday's shooting did not surprise Berkeley Garden resident David Cox, who said people use the area to sell drugs.

"That's all they do out here is deal" drugs, said Cox.

He said he plans to move from the complex as soon as he can.

"It just keeps getting worse here. It doesn't get any better," said Cox.

Karen Burgess, manager of the apartment complex, said she was unaware of any drug problems at Berkeley Garden and said she did not think anyone involved in the shooting was a resident of the complex.

The complex includes government-subsidized housing, she said.

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