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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  • salt life 66

    There is a reason Wood County with a population of almost 90,000 has less crime than counties with half the population.

    • Jason412

      I just posted this but I don't see it, sorry if it shows up twice.

      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.

      • Jason412

        MCHM - Is a mother taking a toddler to a shopping mall unintentionally placing her life in jeopardy an "occupational hazard"?

        Or should the bystanders just expect to see someone murdered every time they go to the mall?

        I was never concerned about the guy who died, I was concerned with the bystanders. Maybe if your mind ran as fast as your mouth you would of noticed that.

      • Matthew

        Well, one thing I've noticed often around shopping malls is a plethora of security cameras. I'd be surprised if there isn't at least one available video of the situation. That is considering just the security cameras. In this day and age, plenty of individuals get their cell phone cameras on right quick as well. So there probably will be some video evidence eventually...unless it gets quashed somehow. That should answer any doubts and provide the necessary means to determine the validity of the actions taken.

      • TheFungoKnows

        You are by far, a complete idiot.
        Your jokes and mocking the water problems in the Kanawha Valley were utterly tasteless. Bizarre and stupid.
        Using other peoples' miseries to furhter your own warped political agenda is pretty low. Even for a liberal puke like you. But that is exactly what we the people expect from you liberals nowadays.
        Criticize the cops for busting a cap in a thug felon.

        • Jason412

          Fungoknows when did I make "jokes" about the water crisis? I said Freedom Industries should be criminally charged the day after it happened. Please show me where I was using that crisis to further any kind of agenda.

          I'd bet both of you are at least twice as old as me and look at the incredibly childish insults you throw around without knowing anything about me. You know what I've noticed? Only the absolute dumbest people on this forum would respond with something like that because you have nothing intelligent to say because it wasn't spoon fed to you off the radio or off tv.

          The fact you defend a man who beat a woman almost to death says all I need to know about you, Fungoknows. I wont call you names based on your political beliefs, because that has nothing to do with politics it just makes you a terrible person in general.

          If either of actually comprehended what you're reading you would see I said that he did deserve it, it just wasn't the right way to go about it in a VERY crowded area. Yeah, no innocent bystanders were hurt this time. Lets be glad it wasn't another Empire State building.

          You have 2 different police agencies telling 2 completely opposing stories. And I shouldn't second guess that? I should just believe everything that's told to me? Well, at least that explains whats wrong with you.

          Don't both of you have some women to be beating?

          • Jason412

            And just to be clear, I'm not a Liberal.

            Fungoknows, the fact you suggested I was against the death penalty in the other post shows either you can't read at all or you have me confused with someone else.

            Now back to beating your wife.

  • Ken

    There are some risks involved when you go into this kind of activity. No sympathy here.

    • Jason412

      There are also risks firing at a moving car in the middle of a crowded area.

      I'm not saying the guy didn't deserve it, I'd just hate to see another innocent bystander hit by stray police bullets.

      • GT9111

        Hypothetical situation....obviously the trained officer hit what he was aiming at with his ONE shot.

        • Jason412

          It's not hypothetical at all to say there are risks firing in a crowded area. Police issued 40 cal will easily go right through somebody at close range, even if he did hit the target there are still risks.

          Its also not hypothetical to say I hope no children seen it, as it was a shopping mall in the middle of the day.

          What I'm more concerned with is why the State Police spokesman has a completely different story then the Parkersburg Chief.

          • Jason412

            Thanks Concerned. I'm glad someone else sees 2 conflicting stories and thinks that's a bit odd. But who am I to question the almighty police, they've certainly never did anything wrong.

            Where I live they're investigating 2 officers for pulling females over and trying to trade sex for leniency. But I dont know why I would ever question an agency with such an outstanding track record

          • griff

            the children see violence every day on tv & don't forget the violent video games they play

          • Concerned

            You're right about innocent bystanders getting hurt and questioning the facts of what happened. I've lived in the area for over 20 years and I've come to learn that there is the version the Parkersburg police tell and the truth. They are not always the same. Instead of patting themselves on the back for permanently removing a dangerous criminal, they should be concerned about the shoppers and bystanders that could have been injured as well. Will they use this to improve their procedures? I doubt it.

  • bob

    The cops should be given a medal for their actions. If those idiots want to break the law the they will pay the price. I'm sure it wasn't their first run in with the law.

  • MikeV

    Those of you feeling sorry for this idiot are crazy, this guy chose his path and it unfortunately didn't have a happy ending. I commend the police for their actions and if the guy wouldn't have been a lowlife pos then maybe he'd be alive today. Get a freaking job and earn your money , don't be a pos thief !!

  • knows

    Give me an example where cop has actually protected through public.....most of the time they just fill out paperwork for insurance company or hang around looking important while somebody hauls the body away but its ALWAYS AFTER THE FACT

    • griff

      Hey dipstick, is this not example enough

  • leroy j gibbs

    Shoot all robbers in my opinion.

  • knows

    Never hear of cops that don't think they're GOD. could have shot tire. Just b/c he shot driver doesn't mean he would automatically stop....maybe slump over wheel and run over god i mean cop anyway....i have never been arrested but most cops have serious "21st century " barney fife attitude. What a joke

    • JeffNWV

      You shoot to stop a threat, nothing more, nothing less. Firing a warning shot endangers the public. Firing a shot at a tire hoping it deflates in time not only opens the possibility of the ricochet hitting something or someone not involved, it does little to stop the threat.

    • jb


    • Tom

      I know it is early in 2014, but you are the current frontrunner for the most inane (look it up) post of the year.

    • Hillbilly

      You wanna tell me what you would do if a car was coming at you to run you down? Even if you shot a tire flat, it would not stop. Its called attempted murder, cop was faced with kill-or-be-killed.

    • Jon

      You sir, are a booming idiot.

      • Randy

        Oh yeah.

      • Jon

        Maybe he should have shot the ground and the bullet would have ricocheted off the ground and into the oil pan and they could have a trail to follow the guys too. What do you think this is, trick shooting in the movies? The cop did what he was trained to do.

    • Aquarius

      Choose a different life style instead of being a thug.... We need more cops who can shoot as well as this one....less gangsters and thug posters..

  • henry


  • adam

    Rob people, get shot...I bet robberies will decline

    • Hillbilly

      He didn't get shot for robbing.. he got shot for trying to run down a cop with his car...

  • ASH

    Not the first time Pburg cops have shot first. They always find a way to excuse it.

    • thornton

      Kinda dumb to shoot second.

      • Anthony


    • mntrbob

      So should the officer have waited until he or someone else was ran over before firing his gun?

      • ASH

        No not in this situation but Pburg cops seem to think its Ok to shoot unarmed young men they see as a threat. Ask the mother of the unarmed young man they killed a couple of years ago because they "thought" he was a danger. She might disagree.

        • Low Rider

          Get your facts straight. The person who was shot a few years back had a weapon that he refused to put down.

  • devin nonya

    it didn't happen at toys r us..it was a purse snatching in the grand central mall......it ended outside of toys r us.....check your facts before you print them

    • griff

      That is what it said when I read it dipstick

    • scott

      ahhhh..thats what it says

    • Larry

      Oh, in that case his family will have to say, "he was trying to help a couple steal an innocent ladys purse and the police had to shoot him".

  • Larry

    What an awful way to die, this guy may have had family members who cared for him somewhat, and now when someone asks about him, they will have to say, "oh, he was trying to help a couple of his buddies rob a toy store, and a policeman had to shoot him".

    • thornton

      There is a good way to die?

      It could have ended much worse. I heard some shots hit a parked car. The criminals receive no sympathy from this quarrter.

      • Larry

        Yes, dying in your sleep, and not being remembered as a drug addled thief.

        • thornton

          Let me know how that first part works out as a good deal for you.

          • Larry

            What other way would you prefer to die? In a fire, maybe stabbed multiple times, in a horrific car crash, be suffocated slowly, maybe a slow poisoning? Dying in your sleep seems like a much better option to me.

        • Jon

          I bet he didn't think when he woke up this morning he'd end up being shot and killed... come to think of it I'm sure the guy never thought about anything. "Oh gee, lets try and run over this cop... nothing bad will happen..."

  • I'm honest at least

    This young man made a choice and I for one say it was swift justice. Feel sorry for the families but not for the criminal.

  • Art in Ohio

    An officer is hurt, a young man is killed, and I bet its over a small amount of money or some clothes. This is just terrible for everyone.....

  • Grant

    Prayers for the officer in the hospital, officers who took part, and for the family of the young man who was killed.

    • griff

      Does the victim not get prayed for? I am sure it was a little old lady that the thug victimized