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West Virginia Sheriff Shot, Killed Near County Courthouse

Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum was shot and killed on Wednesday as he ate his lunch inside his vehicle.

The Charleston Gazette quotes one eyewitness as saying he saw a man pull up to Crum's car and shoot him "right in the head."

The paper adds:

"Tennis Melvin Maynard, 37, of Delbarton, has been arrested in connection to the shooting, according to West Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous.

"Baylous said a Mingo County Sheriff's Deputy spotted Maynard in a car near Delbarton following the shooting and began to chase him. He said Maynard wrecked his car and jumped out, pointing a gun at the deputy."

Of course, this shooting follows the killing of three other public officials across the country. In January, Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was killed in front of the courthouse; on March 20, the head of Colorado's Department of Corrections was shot and killed when he opened the door to his home; on March 31, Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia Woodward McLelland were shot and killed near their home in Forney, Texas. There is no indication that all these shootings are related.

WOWK-TV reports that the West Virginia Sheriff's Association were "stunned and devastated" after the shooting.

"When someone walks up and shoots the chief law enforcement officer of the county it knocks you back," the association said in a statement. "We are currently gathering information and waiting for more details. We are just asking everyone to please pray for Sheriff Crum's family and the law enforcement community as we sort out the information."

The AP reports that Crum won an election with an anti-drug campaign. "Crum led a drug task force and an initiative called Operation Zero Tolerance, making good on a campaign pledge," the AP reports.

NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports that today a federal prosecutor in Houston withdrew from prosecuting a case against the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. Wade sent this report to our Newscast unit:

"Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hileman notified defense attorneys on the case in a short email on Tuesday that he was withdrawing from the case for security reasons.

"The story, first reported by The Dallas Morning News, surprised many in Houston's legal community and gave for the first time firm credibility that the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas might be responsible for the murders of two Kaufman County prosecutors."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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