PENTRESS, W.Va. — There was no reason for a Monongalia County Sheriff’s deputy to kill his son, John Stewart Sr. said Thursday.
An officer-involved shooting took place in Pentress on Wednesday night, at a mobile home across from Stewart’s Farm & Greenhouse on Mason-Dixon Highway. The shooting was reported about 6:45 p.m.
John Stewart Jr., 46, was shot and killed by a deputy, according to Monongalia County Sheriff Perry Palmer. A deputy was dispatched after a 911 call stated Stewart threatened to stab his sister, Palmer said in a press release.
The deputy is on paid administrative leave and is not identified in the press release. No additional information will be released. Palmer told The Dominion Post three detectives were working the case.
Stewart Sr. told The Dominion Post his daughter called him and the police after trying to kick his son — her brother — “Butch” out of his room in the trailer because he owed her $300 in rent money. Stewart Sr. said he went to the trailer to try to calm everyone down. He described his daughter as a yeller and said Butch suffered from mental problems, including bi-polar and schizophrenia.
When the deputy arrived, he yelled at Butch and went up to the porch, Stewart Sr. said. Butch then got in the deputy’s face and put a finger in the deputy’s face. Stewart Sr. said the deputy seemed to be afraid of Butch, who Stewart Sr. described as a “big guy” — larger than the deputy. The deputy backed up and tried to mace Butch, but missed, Stewart Sr. said.
Palmer confirmed pepper spray was used during the incident.
Palmer said Butch refused the deputy’s commands while confronting the deputy. Palmer said Butch pulled a knife on the deputy, “causing an immediate threat” when the deputy tried to arrest him.
“The deputy then discharged a service pistol,” Palmer said.
Stewart Sr. said Butch ran away to try to escape into the trailer. That’s when Stewart Sr. said he heard “bang bang.” Initially, he thought a taser was used on his son. Stewart Sr. said he tried to get to his son, but the deputy told him to stay back. Stewart Sr. said he did not get to see his son and the deputy refused to tell him what was going on. Eventually, a medic told him his son was dead.
“I said, I can’t believe you killed my son for arguing with you,” Stewart Sr. said he told the deputy.
Stewart Sr. said his son wasn’t perfect and could be radical at times, but he didn’t deserve to be shot. Butch wasn’t interested in living a traditional life. He drew Social Security and did odd jobs for cash since returning to the area. His dad said he traveled the country following his mother’s death, but ran out of money and returned about two years ago.
Stewart Sr. recalled a time during Butch’s travels when he called to tell his dad he was looking at the Grand Canyon.
Stewart Sr. said he’s not only angry with the deputy. He’s also mad his daughter called the cops, adding that she’ll never get the $300 now.
Stewart Sr. also said he spoke with his lawyer, who will look into the incident. He declined to provide the attorney’s name.
“It’s over and my son is dead for no reason,” he said. “He shouldn’t have been shot. No way.”
Story by William Dean, Dominion Post