WILLIAMSON, W.Va. — Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum, who was shot and killed near the county courthouse in Wednesday, had become concerned after receiving threats recently.
The alleged shooter, Tennis Melvin Maynard, 37, of Ragland, was taken into custody after a brief car chase.
Police said Crum was eating lunch in his sheriff’s cruiser in the parking lot of the Mingo County Courthouse around noon Wednesday. Eyewitnesses said the shooter got out of another vehicle, walked to the sheriff’s car, and shot Sheriff Crum at point-blank range before fleeing.
State Police spokesman Sgt. Mike Baylous said a Mingo County deputy began pursuing Maynard, a chase that ended in Delbarton when Maynard lost control of his vehicle. The suspect stepped out of his car and allegedly brandished a gun before the deputy shot him at least twice.
Maynard was initially taken to Logan Regional Medical Center and then to Cabell-Huntington Hospital. His condition has not been released.
MetroNews affiliate WVOW Radio in Logan reported the sheriff had expressed concern in recent days over threats he received.
The sheriff’s death sent shock through the state, including the capitol, where Del. Justin Marcum (D-Mingo) worked closely with Crum in his dual role as assistant prosecutor in Mingo County.
“He was a true friend to the county,” Marcum told MetroNews. “He’s been fighting the drug trade that’s been going on. He’s going to be dearly missed.”
Marcum said Crum, who took office in January, frequently sat in his sheriff’s cruiser at lunch, with others saying he did so to monitor a building where a pill mill used to be located.
Mingo County Delegate Harry Keith White told MetroNews Crum was keeping his campaign promise by trying “to clean up a lot of the drug problems in Mingo County.” White said the community was having trouble processing the tragedy.
“You don’t ever expect it to happen (in Mingo County). I hate to say it this way, but maybe it’s a sign of the times.”
Crum had been a law enforcement officer for 30 years. He previously served as a Mingo County magistrate and as police chief in Delbarton.
State police are investigating the deputy’s shooting of Maynard.