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Man shot by trooper expected to recover

March 14, 2000|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A man who was shot twice Monday night by a West Virginia State Police trooper investigating a suspected drug deal was expected to recover, police said Tuesday.

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Shimek Seabrook, 25, who was shot once in the left shoulder and once in the upper right leg by Senior Trooper John Droppleman, was taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, then flown to the Fairfax (Va.) Inova Hospital's trauma center.

The hospital would not provide information on Seabrook Tuesday, but state police said his injuries were not life-threatening.

The shooting came at about 10 p.m., as Droppleman and Senior Trooper T.C. Kearns approached and saw a man fire into a crowd of people in front of an apartment building, they said.

They ordered the man to stop, but he fired at them and then ran, state police alleged.

The troopers chased Seabrook across a parking lot at the complex and into a laundry room, where they again told him to stop, but he tried to climb out a window, police alleged.

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Droppleman fired three shots, hitting Seabrook twice, according to Capt. Sid Sponaugle.

Droppleman was moved to administrative duty as police investigate the shooting.

State Police Sgt. George Bradshaw said Seabrook will be charged with two counts each of attempted malicious wounding and wanton endangerment. Berkeley County Magistrate Ruth A. Donaldson issued a warrant on Tuesday.

Bradshaw would not comment on whether Seabrook has a criminal record.

Seabrook is from Philadelphia, but was staying with friends at either Roberts Gardens, Berkeley Gardens or Joshua Gardens, which are next to each other behind Berkeley Plaza, Bradshaw said.

Police alleged they recovered two handguns from Seabrook, including a 9 mm, and some heroin, cocaine and marijuana.

The investigation was being led by state police Lt. J.K. Riffle, who was taking evidence to a crime lab in Charleston Tuesday and wasn't available for comment.

Local police departments said that Roberts Gardens is known as a trouble spot.

"We make drug arrests (there) all the time," Bradshaw said.

"Everybody gets calls over there - all sorts of calls," said Capt. Curtis Keller of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department.

In January, the sheriff's department was called to Roberts Gardens after guns were fired into an apartment with people inside. Deputies said they found 12 shell casings, some from a .45-caliber handgun and some from a .38-caliber handgun.

In September 1998, a man visiting a friend at Roberts Gardens said he was robbed by two men with a gun and was forced to drive them around to look for money. He escaped, but later that day one of the gunmen shot another man who had given him a ride, according to police.

A week later, several men broke into an apartment at Roberts Gardens and assaulted a resident. One attacker was caught with the help of a state police K-9.

At the adjacent Berkeley Gardens, Kevin Smith, 22, died after being shot twice in the head in April 1999 after an argument, police said.

Monday's shooting at Roberts Gardens marked the second time in three weeks that a local police officer has shot someone during an alleged crime, and the fourth time in 15 months.

On Feb. 23, two Martinsburg City Police officers responded to a burglary report at the Housing Authority office in Ambrose Towers off Winchester Avenue. Officer John Sherman fired at a man he encountered inside. William Robinson, 30, of Martinsburg, was shot once in the chest.

Robinson has been in Martinsburg City Hospital since then. He was listed in satisfactory condition Tuesday evening.

Robinson was married to Brenda Kay Rogers, 32, of Martinsburg, in his hospital room on March 1.

Before the two recent two police shootings, the last one in the Martinsburg area had been last July, when Trooper E. Anderson shot a man in the shoulder and abdomen. Police said the man was driving a stolen truck and hit a trooper as he tried to avoid a sobriety checkpoint on U.S. 11 south of Martinsburg.

In December 1998, City Police Lt. Rick Swartwood shot a man in the hand in his Winchester Avenue home. The man had been sitting with a handgun pointed under his chin and already had a gunshot wound, according to police.

When the man fired at officers as they tried to rescue a woman in another room, Swartwood fired back twice, hitting him once.

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