Deputy breathing on his own

February 22, 2007|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - Jefferson County Sheriff's Department Cpl. Ronald Fletcher - who was shot twice Monday - was taken off a ventilator at Washington (D.C.) Hospital Center and was breathing on his own Wednesday, an administrative assistant at the sheriff's department said.

"We were ecstatic about that," Evelyn Partlow, the administrative assistant, said.

Fletcher was put on the ventilator after his lungs were damaged in the shooting in the Orchard Hills subdivision in Ranson, W.Va., Partlow said.

Breathing tubes have been removed from Fletcher and he was awake and responsive during the day Wednesday, Partlow said.

Fletcher was in serious condition at the hospital Wednesday night.

The officer suffered gunshots to his left shoulder and another section of his torso after he responded to 74 Orchard Drive for a man trying to break in through a back door using a shovel.

Fletcher met the man, identified as Dorsey Cox, 37, of Ranson, in front of the home at 10:13 a.m. Cox went into the house and Fletcher followed him inside, where he was shot.


Two officers pulled Fletcher from the house but Cox would not come out, leading to a six-hour standoff with police. Police eventually fired tear gas canisters into the house and found Cox under a pile of clothes in a bedroom closet.

Cox fired a gun once and a member of a West Virginia State Police Special Operations team returned fire "multiple" times, state police said.

It is not known whether Cox died from the shot he fired or the shots fired by the officer, and investigators on Wednesday were awaiting preliminary results of an autopsy on Cox to help determine how he died, state police Lt. L.M. Lambert said.

Fletcher has been in Washington Hospital Center since the shooting, and on Tuesday underwent surgery to repair damage to his left shoulder, Sheriff Everett "Ed" Boober said. The surgery involved putting a metal rod in Fletcher's upper arm to repair bone that was damaged in the shooting, Partlow said.

Fletcher has worked as a prevention resource officer at Jefferson High School and is a member of Citizens Fire Co. in Charles Town. The sheriff's department has been in touch with many of Fletcher's friends and the department is accepting cards that will be taken to him, Partlow said.

"We've been getting swamped with calls," Partlow said.

People may send cards to the sheriff's department at P.O. Box 9, Charles Town, W.Va., 25414.

A fund has been set up to help Fletcher pay for medical expenses not covered by his insurance and to help pay for his family's expenses while they are in Washington with him, Partlow said.

The fund has been set up at the Bank of Charles Town. Checks should be made to the Ronald L. Fletcher Fund, Partlow said. Checks may be sent to the same sheriff's department address being used for the cards, Partlow said.

Cards, donations welcome

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department is accepting get-well cards and donations for Jefferson County Sheriff's Department Cpl. Ronald Fletcher. The donations are being collected to help Fletcher pay for medical expenses not covered by his insurance and to help his family pay for living expenses while they are in Washington, D.C., with him.

Checks may to be made out to the Ronald L. Fletcher Fund and sent to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department at P.O. Box 9, Charles Town, WV 25414.

Cards also may be sent to that address.

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