CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Almost six months after four people were shot to death in Clarksburg during an alleged drug dispute, Harrison County officials say they believe they have made some progress in addressing the drug problems in that part of West Virginia.
“We’re working together. We’re doing everything we can,” reported Patsy Trecost, a member of Clarksburg’s City Council, on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
In recent months, he said law enforcement officers have received an estimated 300 drug tips through a hotline and made more than 130 drug-related arrests. At the same time, just in Clarksburg, eight neighborhood watch programs have been created.
Trecost said that is encouraging. “We were worried that citizens were going to start taking things into their own hands and you can understand why. They were furious. They were scared,” he said.
“What we kept urging them to do was to, please, allow the police to do what the police know to do, and if you could please help us by being our eyes and ears, turn in what you see. Let us know,” he said.
Last week, an April 14 trial date was scheduled in Harrison County Circuit Court for Sidney Muller, 27, of Fairmont who plead not guilty to four murder charges. He is accused of shooting to death Christopher Hart, 26, Todd Russell Amos, 29, Freddy Swiger, 70, and Fred Swiger, 47, all of Harrison County, on July 26, 2013.
Clarksburg Police said Muller shot and killed Hart and Amos at a home on Locust Ave. in Clarksburg while trying to collect a $10,000 drug debt for pills he provided. The Swigers, a father and son team delivering newspapers on their normal route, were shot and killed outside of the home. Police have said they were innocent bystanders.
The murders prompted a community response focused on the drug trade. “We’ve arrested a lot of people, but we still have a serious problem,” said Trecost.