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.”