By Josephine E. Moore
The Register-Herald, Beckley, W.Va.
BECKLEY, W.Va. – An unidentified man was fatally shot by law enforcement officers on Wednesday morning near the Crossroads Mall in Beckley.
West Virginia State Police and the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department, who had been at the scene for several hours, have not released any information about the incident.
It was also not clear which agency is in charge of the investigation, although Raleigh County Sheriff Scott Van Meter told the Register-Herald at 4:18 p.m. Wednesday that a press release would not would not be released until Thursday.
While law enforcement details are scarce, a number of videos, recorded by individuals, have made their way to social media sites.
One of the videos, which appears to have been filmed from inside a vehicle stopped on the US 19 exit ramp, shows the shooting.
Carrying a handgun, the man – thin with long hair and dressed in sweatpants, a sweatshirt and tennis shoes – leads officers through a ditch on the north side of Robert C. Byrd Drive near the US 19 on-ramp and up and on the northbound lanes.
He had apparently driven his car down Bradley School Road and into the ditch as police chased him.
The video, which is just under a minute long, shows the man walking away from police and continuing towards US 19 with a gun in his right hand.
Nearly a dozen police officers can be seen walking towards the man with guns as he continues to walk down the roadway.
In the video, the man’s movements appear to be erratic as he goes from putting his hands in the air to pointing his gun at his head and then repeating those movements.
At another point shortly after, he crouches down, crossing his arms around his head, then quickly gets up and continues to walk away from the police and towards other civilian vehicles.
Seconds later, he waves to vehicles in the southbound lanes before turning to face the police who begin to surround him.
It appears that both of his arms are at his side as the police begin to fire an undetermined number of bullets in his direction, causing the man to bend forward and fall to the ground.
The police move forward and continue to fire on the man as he rolls onto his stomach and comes to a halt.
The person taking the video can be heard saying “Oh my God” several times just before the video ends.
Separate video, taken earlier today by a home surveillance camera, has also surfaced that shows the man trying to enter a residence in Beckley. The video is less than 30 seconds long and shows the man walking towards a house, opening a screen door and then trying to enter the house, which appears to be locked. The man then runs towards the road as the video cuts out.
The four lanes of Robert C. Byrd Drive near the mall were closed for several hours as more than a dozen West Virginia State Police and Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department vehicles were on places.
Around 1 p.m., vehicles with the sheriff’s office could be seen leaving the scene.
Around the same time, a tow truck hauled a dark blue Chevrolet pickup truck the man had driven into the ditch as his body, lying on the road and covered in a white sheet, was pulled from the scene.
An hour later, the road reopened.
(c)2022 The Register-Herald (Beckley, West Virginia)