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W.Va. man shoots his wife, kills himself

May 18, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

FREDERICK, MD.

A Charles Town, W.Va., man shot his wife, attempted to shoot a police officer and then killed himself Wednesday afternoon in downtown Frederick, Frederick Police Department Lt. Thomas Chase said.

The 33-year-old man, whose name was not released pending notification of his next of kin, was waiting for his 32-year-old wife to return to her parked car in the first block of South Bentz Street when a conversation between the couple escalated and the man shot her in the head at 2:11 p.m., Chase said.

The woman, whose name also was being withheld, was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where she was undergoing surgery Wednesday afternoon, police said.

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A .38-caliber handgun was recovered from the man, Chase said.

Frederick Police Department Officer 1st Class Douglas Stephenson "heard the argument as he was walking in the area and saw the couple when he reached Bentz Street," Chase said in a written release.

When Stephenson saw that the man was holding a gun, he ordered the man to drop it, Chase said.

The husband then "shot her and fired at the officer," Chase said. "The officer returned fire one time and the man retreated up the bank of the vacant lot where they were standing and shot himself."

Chase said that Stephenson dodged the bullet, which went into a nearby door. Stephenson was not injured, Chase said.

The Frederick County Courthouse is about a block away from where the shooting occurred in a residential area, Cpl. Steve Patswald said.

An autopsy of the man's body is expected to be performed today by doctors with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore.

Earlier Wednesday, the husband went to the company where his wife worked on Patrick Street "looking for her" and was told by employees that she wasn't available, Chase said.

He alleges the man went to where her car was parked and waited for her.

The woman asked a co-worker to walk with her to her car, and as she got to Bentz Street, she saw her husband and the two began to talk, Chase said.

"It escalated from a conversation to an argument," Chase said.

The co-worker was standing across the street, he said.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene, Chase said. The woman was treated at the scene and flown to Baltimore.

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