UPDATE Wed., 11:30 a.m.

VIENNA, W.Va. — State Police have released the name of the man shot and killed by a Parkersburg police officer Tuesday afternoon in the parking lot of the Grand Central Mall in Vienna.

Troopers said Steven Lewis Pfalzgraf, 24, of Parkersburg, was driving the getaway car following a purse snatching. It’s alleged he swerved the car at the police officer who fired his gun. Pfalzgraf died at the scene.

State Police said the purse was stolen by John Ragalyi of New Matamoras, Ohio. Ragalyi and Pfalzgraf ran to the car. Ragalyi’s wife, Jenna Ragalyi, was in the car. She and her husband ran after the car came to a stop near the Toys R Us. They later turned themselves in to police. They have yet to be charged. Police are consulting with the Wood County prosecutor on the case.

VIENNA, W.Va. – A man fleeing a purse snatching at Grand Central Mall was shot dead as he drove a car toward police officers.

Another man and woman were taken into custody following the shooting.

State Police First Sgt. Michael Baylous said a man took a woman’s purse in the mall’s food court just before 1 p.m. Baylous said there were police officers in the mall in Wood County for a training session and they gave chase.

Baylous said the man ran outside and jumped into an awaiting car at the back of the mall. A police officer approached and Baylous said the car took off with the officer holding on.

“He was able to free himself away from the vehicle but then the vehicle swerved and headed toward another officer and that officer felt threatened and fired off a shot. The driver, one of the suspects, died as a result of the wound he received,” Baylous said.

The deceased man’s name had not been released as of Tuesday evening.

The injured driver continued to operate the vehicle for several hundred feet until it stopped near the Toys R Us, where the other two suspects in the vehicle fled on foot. After police began a search using K-9 units and the state police helicopter, the pair turned themselves in at the Parkersburg police department at 5 p.m.

Baylous said the officer responsible for the shooting felt threatened and decided to protect himself.

“An officer has a vehicle headed straight to him and that’s just as dangerous as any other type of weapon when it’s used in that manner,” Baylous said. “The officer felt threatened and had to take an appropriate action, and unfortunately the decision that was made by the suspect behind the wheel cost him his life.”

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Comments

  • Tanya

    Check the guy's Facebook page. He wasn't a choir boy, and his two buddies have lengthy criminal records. They ALL resorted to thievery to support their drug addictions. Just Google them!

  • GregS

    I don't have a whole lot of use for the Parkersburg police department. But this cop just put a bad guy where he belongs.

  • Mike S

    This was a false flag event. The DHS were running a drill. Every time they run a drill, someone dies.

  • T.

    If you do the crime, you will be punished! Stop trying to justify the actions of this criminal. Hooray for the police who tried to stop the getaway. This is the way to handle the lowlife of this world.

  • Mike

    I've been to that mall hundreds of times. Stealing a purse in the food court was not a good idea. No wonder why they didnt get away.

  • Paul

    good guys 1
    bad guys 0

  • longbeards

    Live by the sword then die by it!

  • Jason412

    Every version of this story is different.

    From the Marietta Times, the story from the Parkersburg Police Chief before the State Police spokesman got a hold of the story and molded it

    ""The detectives tried to stop the individual, and when one of the detectives reached into the car to remove the key from the ignition, he was drug alongside the car," Martin said. "The other detective engaged with his department-issued weapon and shot the suspect."

    Sounds a lot different and doesn't sound as much like justifiable homicide as "then he swerved towards the other officer" Why a cop would reach into the car and grab the keys not the person is beyond me, I'm not an expert on police procedure but that doesn't sound right.

    If the other cop wasn't in immediate danger (as in car coming right towards him) I'd say regardless of if the robber deserved it they shouldn't be firing shots in a mall parking lot. I hope no small children witnessed it.

  • oh come on now

    a similar incident happened in fl a few years ago and it was decided that the officer could move out of the way of the veh. and that this was an extreme use of force ....yes a crime was in progress but if the officer had time to draw his weapon and fire it in a busy mall parking lot did he not have enough time to remove him self from the path of the veh. i am no advocate of criminals but im also not an advocate of the use of deadly force unless there is no other way .....the officer had best hope the family cant afford a good lawyer

  • tw eagle

    I'm certain the scumbags family will sue everyone in West Virginia . . .it's just too bad the other perps weren't killed "resisting arrest " . . . now there's court , trials , prisons , and the inevitable lawsuits . . . STK

    shoot to kill , less mess later . . .

  • Mark

    I stand behind and commend Officer Baylous's decision to shoot the idiot. The message, I trust, this puts out the word to all low down trash that you don't steal, rob and/or rape in Parkersburg, WV and expect to get away with it. Oh, and by the way, shooting out the oil pan would not have saved the life of the officer's life that the idiot was trying to run over and kill. I believe most in this town agree.

  • Grandma B

    Shot dead over a purse snatching??? What next you didn't use your turn signals and your still in your car threatening the cop. Bang. The cop obviously got out of the way if the driver continued on for several hundred feet. He needs a better story. That one was to easy to see thru.

    • Mike

      I can agree with you partially. In my head I think that the driver probably swerved once aimed at or shot.

  • Jeff

    A police officer once told me "If it's serious enough for me to draw my weapon, it's serious enough for someone to die."

  • thornton

    If I am not mistaken, there was something going on at the mall that had a large police presence around today.

  • pt

    The robber is an idiot and probably wouldn't have ever been a productive member of society. That being said, police are too trigger happy. If a car is actually coming at me, I'm getting the hell out of the way! I'm not taking the time to draw a weapon and fire into the vehicle, hoping to hit the driver and making the car stop. No way did this cop feel very threatened. I hope there is a security camera that caught all this.

    • Randy

      I hope a camera captured it too. First to establish facts and second to prove that you are the buffoon that I think you are.

      • Jason412

        Read what the Parkersburg Chief said I posted at the top, according to his story the cop that fired wasn't even in the path of the vehicle.

        For a group of people that believe absolutely nothing the Government says I'm shocked to see so many here takes a Police Spokeman's word for it when there's at least 4 different versions of this story.

        • Mountain Man

          Jason, your post is spot on. The cop that fired wasn't in the path of the vehicle. There is more to this story than in the paper. Sad for all involved.