CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Cedar Grove's police chief remained on the job Wednesday after being accused of threatening to cut a man's throat in Smithers.Aaron Jason Roop, 31, of Jodie, was charged last week with assault and brandishing, according to a criminal complaint on file in Fayette County Magistrate Court. Roop is police chief in Cedar Grove in eastern Kanawha County.According to the Fayette County criminal complaint, Derick Haddix, Christina Humphrey and Kayla Lykins were putting groceries in their car at the Kroger parking lot in Smithers on Feb. 16 when Roop came up behind them and threatened Haddix."Derick, the next time you threaten my wife and child with a firearm, I will slice your throat and kill you," Roop allegedly told Haddix. The chief was allegedly wearing his police uniform and driving an unmarked police car at the time.
Roop told the Gazette on Wednesday he confronted Haddix over an event that allegedly happened in Gauley Bridge on Feb. 11. Roop said his wife took a friend of hers home to Gauley Bridge on that day, but Haddix, who was inside an apartment nearby, allegedly waved a gun at Roop's wife and the baby and threatened them.Roop said his wife reported the incident to Gauley Bridge police, but police took no action.According to the criminal complaint, Haddix and the two other witnesses told Sgt. Charles L. Burkhamer of the Smithers Police Department that Roop kept trying to get Haddix to fight him, and said he would take off his gun, badge and uniform, according to the criminal complaint.
Haddix, Humphrey and Lykins told Burkhamer that Roop allegedly unsnapped his holster and kept his hand on his duty weapon during the altercation, according to the criminal complaint. Haddix told Burkhamer he believed Roop would shoot him, the complaint said.Roop later contacted Burkhamer and said he had confronted Haddix in the parking lot and threatened to kill him, according to the criminal complaint. "He stated that his confrontation at the Kroger was to defend his family, and protect his wife and baby before something happens to her while visiting her friend," Burkhamer wrote in the complaint.Roop told the Gazette that he never put his hand on his gun and never threatened to cut Haddix's throat.Fayette County Magistrate Samuel Parsons signed an arrest warrant for Roop on Feb. 21. Roop turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday.Cedar Grove Mayor Jim Hudnall said the charges against Roop are both misdemeanors. He said Roop was still working as the town's police chief."As of now, he is," Hudnall said. "We're doing a [police] department investigation."Reach Rusty Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1215.