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Gunman kills sister, himself

November 24, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

Police say a man went on a rampage in the Tuscawilla Hills subdivision Sunday afternoon, destroying property, shooting his sister and then shooting himself as officers closed in on him.

Some neighbors watched the events unfold and then ran into their houses when the man shot himself in the forehead with a .243-caliber rifle a short distance from his house on Packett Drive, said Deputy R.L. Fletcher of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

After the man shot himself, two police officers went to the back of the house where the incident occurred and found the man's sister lying at a back door with a gunshot wound to the chest, Fletcher said.

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Fletcher declined to give the address of the house or identify the man and woman, saying police still were in the process of gathering facts Sunday night. Fletcher said he expects sheriff's officials will be able to release names of the victims today.

Tuscawilla Hills is a large subdivision between W.Va. 51 and Summit Point Road west of Charles Town. Packett Drive is off St. Andrews Drive.

The incident began when police received a call at 4:26 p.m. about a man with a gun, Fletcher said.

Fletcher said he arrived at 4:44 p.m. and saw the man standing in the road and waving a rifle around. Two Charles Town Police Department officers also were at the scene, and about four officers began approaching the man, Fletcher said.

The man began sticking the rifle in and out of his mouth and pointed the weapon at R.J. James of the Ranson (W.Va.) Police Department, according to Fletcher and Sheriff Everett "Ed" Boober.

As officers started to close in on the man, he discharged a spent round from the rifle, loaded it and shot himself, Fletcher said.

The man fell to the road and died instantly, Fletcher said.

Fletcher said the woman found in the house appeared to be about 20 years old, but he was not sure how old the man was.

It appeared there was a struggle inside the house, but Fletcher declined to go into detail.

Boober said he did not know what caused the man to shoot his sister.

"There are a lot of pieces to this," Boober said.

Before the man shot himself, he used the butt of his gun to smash the window on a car as an elderly woman was driving the car down the street, Boober said. The woman got out of her car and ran into the man's house.

"I guess she was seeking refuge," Boober said, describing the string of events as "strange."

The man also smashed windows on two other cars in the area and knocked out a window on a house across from his, Boober said.

The gun the man used to shoot himself had a scope on it and is the type of weapon sometimes used to hunt deer, Fletcher said.

A deputy's car blocked the entrance to Packett Drive.

Fletcher said he was not aware of any previous trouble at the house.

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