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W.Va. man shot 3 times

June 01, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A Martinsburg man was in fair condition at Inova Fairfax Hospital Thursday afternoon after he was shot at least three times following an argument on East North Street in Charles Town Wednesday night, according to police.

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The shooting was the fourth in Charles Town in two months, Charles Town Police Chief Mike Aldridge said.

Wednesday's gunfire erupted after Charles William Johnson, 29, of Route 5, became involved in an argument with another man at about 11 p.m. Wednesday near the Marware Apartments, Aldridge said.

Witnesses told investigators the men were arguing over women, Aldridge said.

Police alleged Johnson punched the other man in the mouth, after which the man pulled a weapon and shot Johnson "at almost point-blank range" in the Marware Apartments parking lot, Aldridge said.

Johnson ran across the street to 502 E. North St. and fell on the lawn, where he may have been shot two more times, possibly with a 9 mm handgun, police said.

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Johnson was taken to Jefferson Memorial Hospital and then flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he initially was listed in critical condition, Aldridge said. By Thursday evening, Johnson's condition had been upgraded to fair, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Police Thursday were trying to determine how many times Johnson had been shot and where he was hit. Investigators said he was shot at least three times, including at least once in the back.

Johnson had a punctured liver and gall bladder and an arm injury and underwent two operations, Officer Steve Harris said.

Although Johnson had a Martinsburg, W.Va., address, he has been living in Frederick, Md., for about the last year, said his sister, Ywatta Mitchell of Martinsburg.

Police would not provide a description of his assailant, who fled the area with two other people in a small red sedan.

Two East North Street residents said they heard parts of the argument and shooting Wednesday night, but would not comment in detail about what happened.

James E. Russ, who lives a few doors up from where the shooting occurred, said he heard shots but thought he was dreaming. He went outside and spoke to officers and they told him there had been a shooting.

"This is an awful thing," he said.

Although charges were filed quickly in the three previous shootings, Aldridge said he is concerned about people settling disputes with guns.

"That's rather bizarre in a quiet town like we have. That's something big cities have," he said.

No one was injured in the three previous shootings.

The first shooting was in early April when one man shot at another on West Congress Street following an apparent argument over drugs, Aldridge alleged.

The second shooting occurred in mid-April when shots were fired at a man as he ran down West Washington Street following a domestic dispute, Aldridge said.

A May 6 shooting started with a domestic argument. In that incident, a man fired a gun eight times into a van parked in the 100 block of West Washington Street, Aldridge said.

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