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Man shot in hand near state Capitol

By By Jack Suntrup
Staff writer
F. BRIAN FERGUSON | Gazette photos
Charleston Police speak with Marvin Smith (seated), after police responded to a late morning shooting on Washington Street, near the Capitol.
Jedidiah Lewis (left) looks on as Teresa Burdette holds her godson, shortly after police responded to a late morning shooting across the street from their Washington Street East residence.
Charleston Police Chief of Detectives Lt. Steve Cooper speaks to the press.

Teresa Burdette didn’t know what was going on, but she had a good idea — and a bird’s-eye view.

From her porch on the 2200 block of Washington Street East, she saw the caution tape, the men getting their pictures taken by police and the television cameras.

Marvin Smith had just been shot in the hand. Police said Smith struggled with another person at his door after he refused to give the person prescription pills. Police arrived at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday at the house, a couple of blocks from the state Capitol.

As of Tuesday night, police had identified a person of interest but were not releasing a name.

“We’re still following up on leads,” Lt. Steve Cooper, chief of detectives, said.

He said whoever shot Smith should be considered “armed and dangerous.”

“It’s a drug house, and they all know it,” said Burdette, examining the scene from her porch and holding her infant godson. “This is a community. This ain’t the hood.”

Jedidiah Lewis, who lives with Burdette and other extended family, sat next to her and smoked a cigarette. He said he notices things at the big blue house where Smith was shot — the kind of things that don’t happen everywhere in the neighborhood.

Lewis said he’s seen fights and people’s property damaged. He said police are often called.

The tenants of the house were evacuated Tuesday after the city building inspector found a bed bug infestation, Cooper said.

He did not say how many times police had been called to the house at 2225 Washington St. E., or if the crime in question was a drug deal gone wrong, citing an open investigation. Smith, 54, has a criminal history. In 1995, he was convicted of three counts of second-degree sexual assault against a female in the 13 to 17 age range, according to West Virginia State Police sex offender records.

He served 10 1/2 years in prison and another 1 1/2 on parole. In 2007, Smith was indicted for failing to register as a sex offender.

Burdette said rumors had been swirling around the neighborhood that Smith was a sex offender. She and Lewis worry that trouble from the blue house will spread across the street to theirs.

“What’s to stop them from coming over here looking for money?” Lewis said. “We have kids of all ages in this house.”

Staff writer Erin Beck contributed to this report. Reach Jack Suntrup at or 304-348-5100.

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