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Police: Woman shot, killed after pointing gun at Martinsburg officers

Georgia Ave. residence where woman died listed as site of firearms business

December 28, 2012|By DON AINES and MATTHEW UMSTEAD | dona@herald-mail.com; matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
  • Martinsburg Police fatally shot a woman at 108 S. Georgia Avenue Friday after she called police saying another woman was holding her at gunpoint.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Martinsburg police shot and killed a woman Friday morning after she called police saying another woman was holding her at gunpoint.

Tiffany Lee Overholser, 45, of 108 S. Georgia Ave., was taken to Martinsburg City Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, Martinsburg Police Department said in a news release.

An autopsy was scheduled for Friday in Morgantown, W.Va., police said.

The incident began at about 3 a.m. when police received a call through Central Dispatch about a woman at 108 S. Georgia Ave., who said another female was pointing a gun at her, police said.

The woman told a dispatcher that she could not provide any other information and that there were other people in the house.

Two officers went to the house, saw someone looking through the blinds, and did not approach any further, police said. Within seconds, a woman came out the front door holding a handgun, police said.

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The woman took several steps toward the officers and pointed the gun at one of them, police said.

Both officers fired at the woman and she fell to the ground, police said.

The officers tried to perform life-saving measures on Overholser until emergency medical personnel arrived, police said.

Overholser had been armed with a loaded .40-caliber Glock, which belonged to a family member, not her, according to police and Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely.

Games-Neely said she did not know how long Overholser resided at the South Georgia Avenue home.

Police determined Overholser was the woman who was shot and who had initially called Central Dispatch.

There was no other woman involved in the incident, police said.

The house was searched and Martinsburg Police Chief Kevin Miller said that other people inside had been asleep until when the shots were fired.

Overholser’s family members told officers that Overholser had attempted suicide on several occasions in the past, police said.

Police were investigating what her motive might have been, police said.

The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is routine after a shooting incident, Miller said.

Miller did not identify the officers involved in the shooting.

West Virginia State Police were in charge of securing the scene and the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crime Task Force was conducting the investigation, he said.

The South Georgia Avenue residence is listed as the principal office for Center Mass Arms LLC, a business that reportedly sells firearms via the Internet with “occasional gun auctions,” according to business organization documents filed with Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s office.

David Overholser, who was identified in 2007 as the husband of the deceased in public documents, is listed as the only officer and organizer of the business, according to the database.

“Little or no inventory will be kept on site,” according to the company’s articles of organization, which were filed with Tennant’s office in September 2011.

The principal office of Center Mass Arms previously was located at 72 Lusitano Ave., south of Martinsburg, and appears to have been changed in May, according to a business organization database maintained by Tennant’s office. In 2007, David and Tiffany Overholser resided at a Rubens Circle address in Martinsburg, according to Berkeley County records. Games-Neely said the deceased was originally from Florida.

The shooting was alarming to neighbors who indicated they didn’t know the deceased that well and didn’t believe she resided there for very long.

“This is a really quiet neighborhood,” said Rena Voron.

Another woman who said she only had recently moved to the neighborhood, indicated she saw the woman walk a young girl to the school bus stop at South Georgia Avenue and West Martin Street on a regular basis and had spoken to her in passing.

“We were terrified,” the woman said of the early morning gunfire, which she described sounding as if someone was knocking loudly “boom, boom, boom” on her door.

“I honestly felt very safe here until that.”

Games-Neely said she was unaware that a firearms business was possibly being operated from the residence.

“That’s an ATF issue,” Games-Neely said of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ oversight of such businesses.

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