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Martinsburg man indicted on charges of attempting to stab a police officer

Douglas Charles Butler was shot in the chest by the officer in the altercation

May 22, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Berkeley County Circuit Court grand jury on Tuesday indicted a Martinsburg man on charges of attempting to stab a police officer with a railroad spike on March 11.

Douglas Charles Butler, 45, who was shot in the chest by the officer in the altercation, was indicted on one count of attempted malicious assault, according to Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely’s office.

Butler, who is currently hospitalized at a psychiatric hospital in Weston, W.Va., was shot by Martinsburg police Officer David McDonald, according to court documents.

The grand jury declined to indict or bring any charges against the officer after hearing testimony in the case Tuesday, Games-Neely said.

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Police shootings are routinely reviewed by a grand jury as part of a process Games-Neely has said was started several years ago to properly handle such cases.

McDonald was placed on administrative leave following the shooting, but since has returned to regular duties, according to Games-Neely.

Police officers responded to the 400 block of Winchester Avenue on March 11 for a report of a man who had threatened another person with a sharp object and broke the person’s car window, police have said.

Officers initially were unable to find the assailant, but McDonald later spotted him around 4:35 p.m. on Norwalk Avenue near Porter Avenue, police said.

The man walked toward McDonald with a railroad spike in his right hand raised above his head in a stabbing position. The officer told the man several times to drop the spike and to get on the ground, but he did not follow the orders, police said.

As the suspect moved closer to the officer, who was backing away, the officer drew his gun and continued to give the suspect verbal commands, police said.

The suspect did not comply with the orders, so the officer fired one round, striking him in the chest, police said.

After being shot, police said Butler stopped, turned away from the officer and began walking away in a westward direction on Norwalk Avenue, according to court records.

Officer Eric Neely, who arrived as Butler was shot, ordered the suspect to the ground, but the defendant refused, police said in court documents.

After being shocked with Neely’s stun gun, Butler fell to the ground, but he continued to disregard officer commands, and the weapon was fired several more times before he complied, court documents said.

Butler was initially taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg and then flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., for treatment.

Butler was extradited back from Virginia and arraigned on a charge of attempted malicious wounding on March 29, the documents said.

Butler was among 26 people indicted Tuesday, according to Games-Neely’s office.

The grand jury is scheduled to reconvene today, Games-Neely said.

An indictment merely indicates that an individual is believed to have committed the crime.

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