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W.Va. man dead, two wounded in bar shooting

December 04, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

HARPERS FERRY, W.VA. - One man was killed and two others were shot Saturday night when a man walked into the Cliffside Bar and Grill along U.S. 340 and opened fire with a 9 mm automatic handgun, police said.

Police described the scene inside the bar at the Quality Inn as "hostile" as patrons overpowered the assailant.

Harpers Ferry Police Chief Donald Buracker said one of the men who was shot was holding down the alleged shooter when the chief entered the bar.

James Robert Jones, 25, of Harpers Ferry, is charged with murder in the shooting death of Michael Mihalik, 26, of Harpers Ferry, who was working as a bartender at the bar, police said.

Jones was being held without bond Sunday afternoon at Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Police did not release details about what led to the shooting, in which Jones is alleged to have fired six shots.

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Mihalik's mother said Sunday that her son never had any trouble at the bar and that she did not know Jones.

State police received the call about the shooting at 9:52 p.m. Buracker said he arrived within a few minutes.

Buracker said he struggled with Jones, and the shooting victim who was holding Jones on the floor helped to put handcuffs on him.

Mihalik was lying on the floor next to a kitchen door, and it appeared he had a gunshot wound to the chest, Buracker said.

Mihalik was unconscious, Buracker said.

Mihalik was taken to Jefferson Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, state police said.

One victim had a gunshot wound to the thigh and another victim had a gunshot wound to the lower leg, police said. A fourth victim had a head injury that was not related to the shooting, state police said.

Those three people were taken to Jefferson Memorial Hospital for treatment, state police said.

Buracker said the scene inside the bar was hostile because patrons were angry over what happened. State Police were assisted by Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies in the bar, Buracker said.

Mihalik was described Sunday as a nice person who was interested in historic preservation.

Mihalik's mother, Rita Mihalik, said her son was a part-time historic preservation and environmental studies student at Shepherd University. Mihalik worked part time as a bartender and part time in home repair when he was not attending classes, his mother said.

"Michael was a very easygoing, kind-hearted man," said Rita Mihalik, who lives in the Bakerton,W.Va., area.

Buracker said he did not know a motive for the shooting.

Buracker said he got to know Mihalik in his work around town and described him as good person.

"It was a hard call (to respond to). It really was," Buracker said Sunday.

Employees at the Quality Inn declined Sunday to comment about the shooting. The bar was closed Sunday, they said.

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