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Rescue Mission worker stabbed

November 11, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - A Martinsburg Union Rescue Mission resident/employee was rushed into emergency surgery after he was attacked, a Martinsburg Police Department sergeant said.

Two men wanted in connection with the attack were at large late Wednesday.

Gregory Mathers, 50, who works and lives at the mission, in the 600 block of West King Street, sustained a gash on the neck when he was attacked in a nearby alley at about 5 p.m., said Martinsburg Police Department Sgt. Glenn Macher.

Macher said Mathers was stabbed with "some type of razor instrument with an extremely sharp blade."

"The wound was sufficient enough to require emergency surgery upon his arrival at (Martinsburg) City Hospital," Macher said. "It's about 5 or 6 inches long and sufficiently deep. It warrants some concern."

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Macher said Mathers' injury was serious, but probably not life-threatening.

Macher said the incident occurred after Mathers went toward the vehicle of two men who had checked in for the evening at the mission. He said Mathers was checking on whether the men were violating a mission policy that prohibits the use of alcohol.

Macher said one of the men stabbed Mathers.

Police were seeking the two men, whose identities he declined to release, Macher said.

Macher said the men were not wanted in connection with other crimes but are known to local police.

Macher said police believe the men were traveling in a yellow or gold Jeep-type vehicle with Virginia registration plates.

The Rev. William Crowe, the mission's superintendent, called the attack the worst incident at the mission in its 43 years of operation.

"It breaks my heart to see someone get hurt like that when they're just trying to make the mission a nice place," Crowe said.

Crowe said Mathers came to the mission a few years ago as a homeless man and made his home there. Mathers has worked doing odd-jobs at the mission, he said.

"We've given him a lot of responsibility, and he does a good job," Crowe said. "I hope he is back with us soon."

Police ask that anyone who was in the area of the mission Wednesday call 304-264-2100.

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