One woman is dead, a city police officer is injured and the alleged suspect is recovering after being shot by the officer in a string of violent events on Charleston’s West Side on Tuesday morning, authorities said.
Charleston police gave few details about the crime spree during a news conference at City Hall on Tuesday afternoon, but said evidence points to one individual being responsible.
Police hadn’t released the identity of the woman killed or the alleged suspect by Tuesday evening.
Newly-appointed Charleston Police Chief James “Tyke” Hunt said the events started with a homicide on Georgia Street. Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford said earlier in the day that one woman was killed.
Hunt said soon after, there was a carjacking at the Walgreens on West Washington Street at the foot of Edgewood Drive, followed by a crash and then another attempted carjacking by the Exxon station on Lee Street and Tennessee Avenue.
Hunt said a Charleston police officer, Casto, encountered the suspect near the Go-Mart on Bigley Avenue.
Upon exiting his vehicle, the suspect immediately approached the officer and struck him multiple times in the head.
Hunt declined to give Casto’s full name and rank.
Rutherford said the suspect hit Casto with an antique steel flat iron, eventually knocking him to the ground.
Rutherford said Casto then fired his gun, striking the suspect twice. Casto and the suspect were then taken to a local hospital.
“The officer is OK and recovering at home with his family,” Hunt said.
Hunt said as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, the suspect had made it through surgery and was being guarded by officers at the hospital.
Rutherford commended a bystander and two paramedics with the Charleston Fire Department who followed the suspect after the crash in front of the Exxon. He said the bystander ran toward Casto as he was being hit with the iron, before Casto shot the suspect.
Authorities said because the investigation was still early, they declined to give further details. They expected to provide more information Wednesday.
Hunt stressed that there was no further threat to the public.
Hunt commended the Charleston Fire Department, Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office, West Virginia State Police, St. Albans Police Department, as well as off-duty Charleston police officers who went to the scene Tuesday morning.