Autopsy says Cox's death was a suicide

November 30, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION

RANSON, W.Va. ? A Ranson man who allegedly shot a Jefferson County Sheriff's Department officer during a police standoff on Feb. 19 in the Orchard Hills subdivision died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head during the incident, West Virginia State Police said Thursday.

Hamada Mahmoud, a doctor in the state Medical Examiner's Office, performed an autopsy on Dorsey Cox's body and determined that Cox shot himself, according to a state police press release.

Mahmoud also made the determination by relying on crime scene photographs, according to the release.

Cpl. Ronald Fletcher of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department was shot three times in the upper torso after he responded to 74 Orchard Drive on Feb. 19 for a man trying to break in through a back door using a shovel, police said.

Fletcher encountered the man, identified as Cox, 37, in front of the home behind the Ranson Square shopping center off Mildred Street about 10:13 a.m. Cox went into the house and Fletcher followed him and was shot in the arm, leg and chest, police said.


Police said they were able to convince Cox to let two police officers and a paramedic enter the house to rescue Fletcher.

Cox would not leave the house after Fletcher was shot, which led to a six-hour standoff with police.

Police eventually shot tear gas canisters into the house, and a state police Special Response Team found Cox under a pile of clothes in a bedroom closet.

It was determined that Cox started a fire in the bedroom on a mattress, which caused much of the home to be filled with thick smoke, according to the release.

When police came across the pile of clothes, they saw a foot sticking out from under them, according to the release.

Police believe Cox was using the clothes to filter the tear gas, according to the release.

Cox fired his gun, and one of the members of the Special Response Team returned fire, striking Cox in the leg, the release said.

The officer returned fire because he believed Cox was firing at the response team, the release said.

Police were able to remove a bullet from a wall where Cox fired his gun, according to the release.

Fletcher was treated at Washington (D.C.) Hospital Center and since has returned home.

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