Suspect in shooting held without bond

October 14, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY

Before he allegedly shot a state trooper Thursday night, a Hedgesville man threatened to kill his neighbor, his neighbor's wife, his own girlfriend and any police officer who arrived, according to court documents filed Friday.

David Eugene Munday, 37, allegedly shot West Virginia State Trooper Robert Elswick once in the head after Elswick and another officer responded to a call about a possible domestic situation on Harper Lane west of Hedgesville.

At press time Friday, Elswick remained in critical condition at Washington County Hospital.

Police allege that between 5:30 and 8:40 p.m. Thursday, Munday forced his way into a neighbor's home three times.

The first time, Munday held his neighbor - identified in court records as Johnny Lambert Jr. - at gunpoint, believing either Lambert or Lambert's wife was trying to break up the relationship between Munday and his girlfriend, court records allege.


Later, Munday allegedly kicked open the door of Lambert's home and came in while Lambert's wife and daughter were inside. At that time, Munday started searching the home, looking for Lambert's wife so he could kill her, police allege.

Lambert distracted Munday long enough for his wife and daughter to escape, police said.

Munday then held Lambert hostage, waiting for Lambert's wife to return, police allege. Eventually, Lambert talked Munday into leaving but Munday returned later and threatened to kill Lambert, police allege.

When he saw police arriving down the road, Munday left Lambert's home carrying a .22 magnum bolt action rifle, according to court records.

Once outside, Munday ignored orders to put the rifle down and shot Elswick, police allege.

Trooper John Droppleman, who had driven to Lambert's home in a separate cruiser, returned fire and wounded Munday. Munday was taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va., for treatment and was released from the hospital a couple of hours afterward.

Around 2:30 a.m. Friday, Berkeley County Magistrate Kristy Greer arraigned Munday via a video conference system. Munday was charged with one count of kidnapping and one count of nighttime burglary, both felonies.

Bail was not granted for the kidnapping charge because it is a capital offense.

Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely said Friday that additional charges will be filed after police finish their investigation and after Elswick's condition stabilizes.

Along with the two felonies, Munday was charged Friday as being a fugitive from Frederick County, Md., where he allegedly failed to appear in court on Sept. 27 for a charge of second-degree assault that had been filed against him, according to court records.

In April, Munday was picked up on another fugitive warrant from Frederick County alleging he violated the terms of his probation, according to records.

Munday was sentenced to two years probation after he was found guilty of assault in April 2000. He allegedly violated the terms of his probation by failing to report to the probation office; by changing his name, address and employment without notifying his probation officer; by being charged in Montgomery County, Md., with possession of marijuana; by failing to appear in court for that marijuana charge; by testing positive for marijuana use; and by not attending mental health counseling as he was required to do, according to court records.

Munday was taken to Maryland for the probation violation warrant, records show, but the outcome of the case could not be determined Friday.

Domestic battery calls like the one Elswick was responding to happen in Berkeley County nearly on a daily basis. They are one of the worst things a police officer can hear over his or her radio, police said.

"You're going into a lot of unknowns," said Martinsburg Police Department Chief Ted Anderson. "You really gotta watch yourself on those situations."

Berkeley County Sheriff Randy Smith agreed.

"Domestic calls are the most dangerous calls," he said. "You go into a domestic, you don't know what to expect.

An already heated situation can escalate once police become involved. Sometimes the person who called police turns around and harasses the officer after realizing an arrest is imminent.

"It's a no-win situation for a police officer," Smith said.

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