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Trooper shot

W.Va. officer in critical condition

W.Va. officer in critical condition

October 11, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY and LIZ THOMPSON

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

and LIZ THOMPSON

lizt@herald-mail.com

A West Virginia State Police trooper was in critical condition Thursday night after he was shot once in the head while responding to a call for a domestic incident west of Hedgesville, state police said.

Trooper R.J. Elswick was taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va., and then was transferred by ambulance to Washington County Hospital Trauma Center, a nursing supervisor at City Hospital said.

Ruth Gallion, a patient care manager at the hospital, said his condition was critical late Thursday.

The man who police allege was the shooter was taken to City Hospital, according to police sources.

Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely said Elswick and Trooper John Droppleman arrived in separate cruisers at a home on Harper Lane for a domestic battery call at about 9 p.m.

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The officers were conferring outside of the home on how to make entry when a man came out of his house and started firing at them, Games-Neely said.

Elswick was hit once in the head, Games-Neely said. Droppleman, who was not hit, returned fire, wounding the alleged shooter, she said. His injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, she said.

City Hospital Nursing Supervisor Kim Shipley said that hospital was treating a 36- or 37-year-old man who she said was in stable condition. Shipley would not disclose the man's injuries. He was taken from the hospital in a wheelchair to Eastern Regional Jail at 12:20 a.m.

Berkeley County Sheriff Randy Smith said his department would be covering the county until at least 4 p.m. today while state police were tied up investigating the shooting.

State Police were handling the investigation, Smith said. His office and Martinsburg City Police would share in guarding the suspect while he is at the hospital, Smith said.

An ambulance still blocked the road at the end of Harper Lane, which is off Butts Mill Road, late Thursday.

Officers with West Virginia State Police and the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crime Task Force were on the scene.

Elswick was the second police officer in the Tri-State area to be shot in the past month.

On Sept. 17, a bullet grazed the forehead of Hagerstown City Police Sgt. George Knight, 46. Knight returned to work this month.

The unidentified man who fired at Knight has not been found.

Knight was on patrol when he noticed two men walking at the intersection of Charles and Boward streets about 4:12 a.m. One of the suspects pulled out a handgun and fired at Knight.

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