MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — State Police Superintendent Col. Jan Cahill is releasing more information in connection with a Monday night incident that left a Pocahontas County man dead and Trooper Josh Tallman injured.

West Virginia State Police

Josh Tallman

During an appearance Wednesday on MetroNews “Talkline,” Cahill identified the suspect as William Biggs, 43, of Marlinton. Biggs, according to Cahill, was a known figure to local law enforcement. However, it’s unclear what prompted the initial gunfire at around 6 p.m. Monday.

Pocahontas County Sheriff’ J.P. Barlow arrived at the scene of a single vehicle accident and was almost immediately under fire, Cahill said.

“He was alerted because the accident was near his residence. He and a deputy responded and nobody was around the accident. Soon after that they were under gunfire, a total of three shots. The first one hit the guardrail beside where they were standing and then two more after that,” said Cahill.

Barlow and the deputy were not injured, but called for backup. Law enforcement from several surrounding counties quickly responded. Officers, deputies, and troopers began to scour the woods where the shots originated. TFC Tallman, 30, of the Elkins Detachment, was the first to encounter Biggs in the woods and was shot in the abdomen.

“It was a .243 round, a deer hunting rifle. It’s something that can definitely take you out,” Cahill said.


Col. Jan Cahill

After he was shot Tallman immediately returned fire, several shots, according to Cahill. Biggs was killed. Fellow troopers acted quickly to get Tallman to a doctor.

“They applied this ‘quick clot’ material that’s used on the battlefield and carried him several hundred yards. Then our helicopter, which was already there for the search, landed in some very difficult terrain and got him to the medical facility in Marlinton,” Cahill explained.

Once stabilized Tallman was flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital where he underwent surgery immediately and a second procedure Wednesday morning.

“He’s probably looking at a full recovery, but he’s had a serious wound and has a long road ahead of him,” said Cahill.

Tallman remained in stable condition Wednesday afternoon.

Among the many who came by to check on Trooper Tallman at Ruby Tuesday afternoon was WVU football coach Neal Brown who paid a visit between practice sessions.

“Hat’s off to him, what a class act. He came over after practice and gave him a football and some other things,” Cahill said. “So he (Tallman) was speaking to people and was in pretty good spirits.”