NUTTER FORT, W.Va. (WV News) — A fugitive was shot dead at a funeral Wednesday in Nutter Fort when federal and local law enforcement attempted to arrest him, according to interim Clarksburg Police Chief Randy Hartley and Harrison County Sheriff Robert Matheny.
Hartley and Matheny confirmed that law enforcement were outside the Amos Carvelli Funeral Home when the shooting occurred.
Terry Moore, acting U.S. marshal for Northern West Virginia, said he “can confirm it was a U.S. Marshals fugitive investigation that led to the officer-involved shooting.”
Later in the day, John R. Kaznowski IV, supervisory deputy U.S. marshal for enforcement operations for Northern West Virginia, released a statement.
“At approximately 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 24, members of the U.S. Marshals-led Mountain State Fugitive Task Force and other law enforcement agencies were involved in an officer-involved shooting during a fugitive investigation that resulted in a fatality in Nutter Fort, West Virginia,” Kaznowski’s statement said. “Preliminary information indicates that during the arrest attempt, the subject produced a firearm. As a result, law enforcement officers discharged their firearms, striking the individual. Officers immediately rendered first aid until emergency medical services arrived; however, the man succumbed to his injuries.”
“No law enforcement officers or other persons were injured during the incident. The lead investigating agency for this incident is the West Virginia State Police.”
Hartley said deputy U.S. marshals and local task force officers had been watching the funeral home for the fugitive, and spotted him coming out as a pallbearer.
They let the fugitive take the casket to the hearse, then attempted to arrest the fugitive, and that’s when he pulled a gun, Hartley said. The fugitive then was shot, he said.
No civilians or law enforcement were injured, Matheny said.
Matheny, who did not identify the deceased, added that “a multi-jurisdictional team was attempting to take the felon into custody.”
“We’re very early in the investigation here — I haven’t been briefed fully on the totality of the operation,” Matheny said.
“During the attempt to arrest, there were several agencies involved. The State Police was not involved in that aspect of this incident, so I’ve asked the State Police to do an independent investigation into the circumstances that led to the shooting,” Matheny said.
State Police Sgt. Ronnie Gaskins, Bridgeport detachment commander, said the agency will bring in a trooper from the Morgantown detachment to lead the investigation.
All officers involved in the incident will be investigated individually, Matheny said.
“Law enforcement that discharged their weapons have been identified and removed so those agencies can begin the internal review,” Matheny said. “We promise independence, transparency and integrity as the investigation unfolds.”
“I’ve talked with the chief of police here in Nutter Fort, Ronald Godwin, and he agrees that the State Police should do that aspect of the investigation. Any officer that was involved, that discharged their weapons or was part of this will undergo an internal review from their agency.
“That’s just starting now, so there’s still a lot of work to be done here today to find out what happened,” Matheny said. “It’s an emotionally charged scene since this all took place during a funeral service. Our hearts go out to the family that had to be in the middle of this.”
Matheny said West Virginia State Police personnel from the Bridgeport detachment were not involved in the arrest attempt but were on-scene Wednesday afternoon processing the scene.
The State Police Crime Scene Response Unit was also on hand to process the scene.
WV News has confirmed that the incident led to at least one school in the vicinity, Nutter Fort Intermediate and Primary, to go on a “code yellow” lockdown, which delayed dismissal.
There were also reports that Norwood Elementary, located in Stonewood, also had delayed dismissal briefly.
As of 2:35 p.m., the school system had issued an all-clear for dismissal to continue after being informed by law enforcement that there was no threat in the area.
Traffic to businesses along Thomas Avenue were blocked off due to the investigation, but Matheny said law enforcement would be scaling back the perimeter and business should reopen if within normal hours of operation. Harrison County Bank along Buckhannon Avenue was open during the onset of the investigation.