CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Harrison County Prosecutor Joe Shaffer says something must be done to rid Clarksburg of “drug infested” communities like the one where a quadruple murder occurred Friday.
Shaffer said in year’s past Locust Ave. was a “wonderful, residential community.” But he said it’s taken a turn for the worse in the last several years.
“It’s a street that you don’t want to walk down in the daytime, much less after dark,” he said.
Locust Avenue is where police claim Sidney Muller, 24, of Harrison County shot and killed four men Friday.
Shaffer said Muller first shot Christopher Hart, 26, and Todd Amos, 29, both of Clarksburg over a drug deal. He was there to collect a $10,000 debt over some pills.
It’s then alleged Muller shot and killed two other men as he left the scene. Freddy Swiger, 70, and his son Fred, 47, were in the area delivering newspapers.
A Harrison County man and Marine Corps veteran is charged with four counts of first-degree murder for shooting four people, including a father and son who were delivering newspapers, early Friday morning in Clarksburg.
“(They were) working very hard, getting up very early and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Shaffer said Friday on MetroNews “Talkline.”
The shootings happened around 4:30 a.m., said Shaffer, at a home that was a “known drug location” in what had been a nice neighborhood before declining during the past decade.
Investigators said the quadruple murder was “directly related to drug activity.”
“Two individuals were initially shot and, I believe that, as the suspect was exiting the house, he encountered the two innocent people and went ahead and dispatched them as well,” Shaffer said.
Officials with The Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram said the Swigers had been delivering newspapers, seven days a week, for 30 years.
“They were extremely nice, loyal and cared very deeply about their customers. Further, their customers cared very deeply about them from the calls already this morning (Friday). They built a connection with people that was unique and special in every regard,” said Brian Jarvis, president of the Exponent-Telegram.
“We hope justice will be served as soon as possible for this heinous and senseless act.”
Shaffer said Hart’s mother lives next door and went to her son’s house when she heard the gunshots. At that time, Hart was still alive and reportedly told his mother the name of the shooter.
Muller was arrested Friday after questioning from Clarksburg police detectives. He was stopped at the White Hall McDonald’s in Marion County soon after the shootings following the release of an alert for his vehicle.
Clarksburg City Council member Patsy Trecost said his community is mourning. “Without a doubt, our thoughts and our prayers are with their families,” said Trecost. “It’s just an unhappy conversation we’re having and a lot of sorrow is going out throughout the whole community.”
Video courtesy Ben Queen Photography