W.Va. man wounded in drive-by shooting

July 20, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - A man was shot in the upper left thigh during a drive-by shooting Monday while standing outside a house on Porter Avenue in Martinsburg, according to the Martinsburg Police Department.

Police were still trying to find the man who allegedly fired the shot.

Sgt. Brian Yost of the Martinsburg Police Department said Monday night that an arrest warrant has been issued charging Bernard Anthony "Beeno" Jennings, 25, with one felony count of malicious wounding.

Jennings, who is originally from New York and had been living at the Martin's Landing apartment complex, had not been found by late Monday. Jennings is a black man who is between 6 feet and 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 150 to 160 pounds, police said. He is charged in the warrant with firing two shots as he drove a red Acura along Porter Avenue, police said.


The wound to the victim, William Hess, 18, of Martinsburg, does not appear to be life-threatening, Yost said.

A City Hospital spokeswoman said Hess was in stable condition. Hess was later transferred to another facility for additional treatment, but Yost did not want to name the hospital, since an arrest had not been made.

The shooting happened around 4:45 p.m. outside of 209 Porter Ave., just a few houses away from the intersection with King Street. Signs in a front window of the home read "No Loitering" and "No Trespassing - Police Take Notice."

Martinsburg Fire Department personnel loaded one person onto a stretcher and into an ambulance, and quickly left.

Several officers with the Martinsburg Police Department responded to the scene, where they interviewed witnesses and took photographs.

One young woman could be overheard telling police that she was putting her child into her car when the shooting happened. She said the shooter was in a car that was stopped several car lengths from the intersection of Porter Avenue and King Street.

The woman said she heard two gunshots. She told police that when she turned around, she saw the car back into an alley and leave in the opposite direction from which it had been heading.

A neighbor, JoAnn Stewart, said she did not see the shooting, but heard two shots and was told to call 911.

"I didn't see the kid (who was shot) cause he was laying on the ground," she said.

Kevin Webber, who lives at 209 Porter Ave., owns a Dodge minivan that was shot. A bullet hole was visible above the rear tire on the driver's side. Webber and police used a screwdriver to take apart the rear door panel, but could not find the bullet.

Webber said police requested he take the van to a repair shop so the bullet can be found.

He said the shooting resulted from "ongoing drug problems."

Webber said police have raided homes in the area for drugs and that people use drugs while standing along the street. Otherwise, he said the neighborhood mostly is a decent one.

"If you'd just get the riffraff out of here, it wouldn't be a bad place to live," he said.

Webber said he asked city officials to install bright streetlights along Porter Avenue but was told they were not needed.

"I'm telling you it's necessary," he said.

Another neighbor, who said she did not see the shooting and would not give her name, said the neighborhood has gotten worse in the last two years.

Yost could not say what may have led to the shooting.

"Anything's possible, but I think the groups don't get along," he said.

Yost also said that drugs are not necessarily more prevalent in that area than in any other.

"Drugs are a problem in a lot of areas," he said.

Yost said this is not the first drive-by shooting in Martinsburg, but said he could not remember when the last one happened.

Anyone with information can call the Martinsburg Police Department at 304-264-2100.

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