HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice says he’s going to use the West Virginia National Guard to help Huntington respond to the current rash of violence that has resulted in a number of murders including three this week.
“I’m going to call upon our National Guard,” Justice said during a Thursday town hall meeting on WSAZ-TV in Huntington. “Our National Guard has resources that can absolutely combat this thing.”
Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, said in video released on Twitter Justice requested the use of the counter narcotics support program to provide additional assistance to law enforcement agencies.
“That doesn’t mean setting a Humvee on every street corner. We can’t do that because the National Guard doesn’t get involved with law enforcement,” Justice said. “But between the National Guard, the state police and geat police of the City of Huntington we’re going to stop it.”
Huntington recorded its 19th murder Thursday morning when a person was found dead at a residence on 25th Street. Mayor Steve Williams said on MetroNews “Talkline” Thursday much of the violence is connected to a turf war between drug organizations.
“This is a result of the drug trade in our community. This is unacceptable and we want residents to know we are not acting alone,” Williams said.
Justice said Huntington has to get back to being a safe town. He said they must replace “drugs for jobs.” Justice said a high tech employer may be relocating in Huntington.
Justice, his wife and daughter all graduated from Marshall University.
“When I was here it (Huntington) was the great town in the world. Streets running one way, avenues running another way. It was a sweater-type of town. It was a town of total friendliness all the time. You never thought in any way of not being safe,” Justice said.