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Grand jury: No further investigation against officers in woman's fatal shooting

Tiffany Lee Overholser was shot at her Martinsburg residence after officers say she pointed a gun at them

February 20, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Berkeley County grand jury Wednesday decided against further investigation of two Martinsburg Police Department officers involved in the December fatal shooting of a woman who police had said pointed a gun at one of them.

Tiffany Lee Overholser, 45, of Martinsburg was taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, where she was pronounced dead after the Dec. 28 shooting at her South Georgia Avenue residence, police had said.

Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely said Wednesday that the grand jury declined to act after being presented with the findings of a shooting investigation that was done by an outside agency.

Games-Neely said she could not release the names of the officers, who had been placed on administrative leave immediately after the shooting, per procedure. Chief Kevin Miller could not be reached Wednesday night for comment.

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The grand jury could have requested additional investigation, decided to indict or declined to proceed with further investigation as part of a standard three-step process that is taken in the review of police shootings, according to Games-Neely.

Police had 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 had said.

The woman took several steps toward the officers and pointed the gun at one of them, police had said.
Both officers fired at the woman and she fell to the ground, police had said.

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

Overholser was armed with a loaded .40-caliber Glock, which belonged to a family member, not her, authorities had said.

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 had said.

The house was searched and police said other people inside had been asleep until gunshots were fired.

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

The police shooting was the third to involve Martinsburg Police Department officers since September 2011.

Grand jurys in all three cases have decided against further investigation.

In the other two cases:

March 11, 2012 — A Martinsburg Police Department officer shot Douglas Charles Butler in the chest after Butler allegedly attempted to stab the officer with a railroad spike. Butler, who was indicted in May on one count of attempted malicious assault, is scheduled to enter a plea and be sentenced Thursday in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

Sept. 26, 2011 — Two Martinsburg police officers shot Michael Kelly Silver, 42, multiple times in the ATM lane of a bank drive-through after he carjacked a woman and her 4-year-old daughter at Martinsburg Mall. The fatal shooting was deemed justifiable by a Berkeley County grand jury.

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