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Police say they almost caught shooting suspect

June 05, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Police said they have come close to catching a District Heights, Md., man wanted in the shooting of a Martinsburg man, but they remain on the hunt for John Samuel Leigh.

Charles Town Police Patrolman Steve Harris, one of several officers working on the shooting investigation, said he believes Leigh has not left the Tri-State area.

"He's close. That's where all his connections are," Harris said Monday.

Investigators believe they missed Leigh, also known as Tracey Williams, at a local motel by about an hour Thursday night, Harris said.

Harris would not identify the motel, but police received a tip that Leigh was staying in a room there late last Thursday night. Investigators verified that the suspect had been in the room, Harris said.

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Based on the way police found the room when they entered, they believe Leigh left about an hour before, Harris said.

Meanwhile, Charles William Johnson, the shooting victim, was doing well enough to be transferred from Inova Fairfax Hospital to Jefferson Memorial Hospital on Sunday, said Charles Town Police Chief Mike Aldridge.

Johnson was in good condition at the hospital Monday evening, hospital spokeswoman Teresa McCabe said.

An arrest warrant on charges of malicious wounding, wanton endangerment with a firearm and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling was issued for Leigh last Thursday, police said.

The warrant was issued a day after Johnson, 29, of Route 5, Martinsburg, was shot at least four times during an argument over a woman near the Marware Apartments on East North Street in Charles Town, police said.

Investigators believe Johnson was shot twice in the parking lot of Marware Apartments and two more times after he collapsed in a lawn across the street at 502 E. North St., according to Aldridge.

The suspect fled in a small red sedan with two other people, police said.

Two getaway cars were used in the shooting, Harris said Monday. The second car, a red Pontiac Grand Prix, was found Saturday on 2nd Street in Martinsburg about a block from a house where Leigh has been staying, Harris said.

Other people in the car were involved in the crime, but police cannot elaborate, Harris said.

Police obtained a search warrant for the car and found some items, but they would not elaborate. Investigators also obtained a search warrant for the house where Leigh has been staying - 617 North Queen Street - and obtained more evidence, Harris said.

The small red sedan in which Leigh allegedly fled has been found, but Harris would not say where.

Leigh should be considered armed and dangerous, Harris said. If anyone knows where he is, they should not attempt to approach him, Harris said. Anyone with information about Leigh should call local police, Harris said.

Charles Town Police can be reached at 304-725-2714.

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