Carjacker fatally shot by police in Martinsburg had served 5 years for robbing Chambersburg bank

Michael Kelly Silver was a suspect in last week's robbery of same Pa. bank, among other crimes

September 27, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
  • Michael Kelly Silver
Photo courtesy of Martinsburg (W.Va.) Police Department

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The man who carjacked a woman and her 4-year-old daughter Monday night and was fatally shot by police during a brief standoff at a bank near Martinsburg Mall was wanted by police for other crimes in at least three states.

Michael Kelly Silver, 42, whose death notice says he is from Berkeley Springs, W.Va., was pronounced dead at City Hospital in Martinsburg after two Martinsburg police officers shot him in the ATM lane of the drive-through at My Bank! First United Bank & Trust at 980 Foxcroft Ave., police said.

Felony warrants charging Silver with breaking and entering and conspiracy to commit second-degree robbery were issued Monday by Berkeley County magistrates. Authorities in Spotsylvania County, Va., wanted him for robbery, according to police and magistrate court records.

Silver also was wanted by police in Chambersburg, Pa., for the armed robbery Thursday of the F&M Trust branch at 841 Wayne Ave. and was previously charged with robbing the same bank in 2003, according to police and court records.

Silver was released from federal prison in 2008 after serving a five-year sentence, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons' inmate locater database.

One police officer shot Silver with a handgun and the other used a shotgun, police said. Both officers were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which is standard procedure under such circumstances, Martinsburg Police Chief Kevin Miller said Monday night. Miller declined to identify the officers.

The shooting is being investigated by the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely said Tuesday. A task force report on the shooting will be filed with Games-Neely, who will review the findings before sharing them with a grand jury.

The grand jury could request an additional investigation, decide to indict or decline to proceed as part of a three-step process that was put in place several years ago to "keep everybody aboveboard," Games-Neely said.

The shooting began as the woman was attempting to get out of the passenger side of the car, a black sedan, after it was blocked in the bank drive-through by two police cruisers.

The officers approached from the front and rear of the vehicle, and ordered Silver to follow multiple commands, police said. After he didn't comply, one officer grabbed the woman and pulled her aside just as the suspect pointed what appeared to be a black pistol at him, prompting the officers to shoot, police said.

The officers stopped shooting when one of the them spotted a child in the back seat of the vehicle.

While shaken by the shooting, neither the girl nor the mother was harmed, police said.

Silver was shot multiple times, Miller said.

The results of an autopsy on Silver's body performed Tuesday in Charleston, W.Va., were not available, police said.

The suspect's weapon, later determined to be a black BB pistol, was found on the driver's-side floorboard of the vehicle, police said.

Police were able to block the victim's car at the bank after being alerted by a woman who reported the carjacking happened outside J.C. Penney at the Martinsburg Mall, police said.

Officers were dispatched to investigate what was a reported kidnapping/carjacking at 6:24 p.m., police said.

The suspect threatened the victim with a knife to carjack the vehicle, and a pocket-style knife was later found in Silver's possession, police said.

After witnessing the carjacking at the mall at 800 Foxcroft Ave., the woman who alerted police followed the victim's car to the Waffle House near the south end of Foxcroft Avenue, police said.

The vehicle was at the Waffle House for a short period of time, and the witness told police that the suspect then drove to the bank's ATM, police said.

There, the suspect intended to rob the victim after forcing her to withdraw cash from the ATM, but police arrived and used their cruisers to block the vehicle in the ATM lane, police said.  

"She did an excellent job," Martinsburg Police Detective Cpl. Scott Doyle said of the assistance the female witness provided.

Miller said the crime was a random act and the victim did not know the man. The West Virginia State Police and members of the task force joined Martinsburg police in the investigation. The Berkeley County Sheriff's Department also assisted.

The bank was cordoned off with yellow plastic tape as authorities spent more than six hours at the scene of the shooting, documenting the location of evidence with yellow evidence markers, and taking measurements and photographs.

Most of the evidence markers were positioned in the ATM lane of the bank. Police also intended to review surveillance video as part of the investigation.

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