A gas company employee was shot in Lincoln County on Monday afternoon, Chief Sheriff’s Deputy J.J. Napier said Tuesday.
A man dressed in camouflage with his face painted black approached Mark Miller, an employee with HG Energy LLC, on Joe’s Creek near Sod, Napier said.
“At that time he played Mr. Miller a recording that said ‘Stop the drilling’ and then stuck a gun through the window of the passenger side of the truck,” Napier said.
Miller told police he grabbed the gun, which fired, shooting him in the hand, Napier said.
Miller then drove back to the HG Energy office in Yawkey, Napier said.
A person who answered the phone at HG Energy’s Parkersburg office said a spokesman for the company wasn’t available as of Tuesday morning.
HG Energy operates in 15 West Virginia counties, and owns and operates 1,300 oil and gas wells in West Virginia and Ohio, according to its website.
The incident was reported around 1:30 p.m. Monday.
Miller was in an unmarked work truck checking on a leaking oil well in the area, according to the West Virginia State Police, which is leading the investigation.
A State Police trooper said Miller was in a wildlife management area, not on private property.
Beth Little, a member of the West Virginia Sierra Club, said in a voicemail that the organization’s board members were shocked to learn of the incident.
“We think violence is deplorable,” Little said in her message.
No arrests had been made as of late Tuesday. State Police don’t have a specific suspect.
A scent was tracked four miles into the woods using a dog, but lost it at a set of four-wheeler tracks. A trooper with the State Police in the Hamlin detachment said police couldn’t determine if the scent was the suspect’s.
Napier said the suspect did not identify himself or say anything to Miller, and he didn’t know what kind of gun was used in the incident.
The State Police trooper said he believes the shooting was an isolated incident. This is the first incident of its kind the Sheriff’s Department has heard about, Napier said.
Staff writer Erin Beck contributed to this report.