A West Virginia sheriff with a reputation cracking down on drug dealers was shot in the head at point blank range and killed outside a county courthouse today, officials and witnesses said.
Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum was shot and killed while sitting in his vehicle during his lunch break in the town of Williamson, state Delegate Harry Keith White told ABC News.
A witness told ABC News that he watched the suspect approach Crum's car, where he was known to eat lunch, and fire twice into the vehicle. The suspect then calmly walked to his truck, described as a tan Ford ranger, and drove away.
Another witness, Larry Dove, told the West Virginia Gazette he saw a man shoot Crum "right in the head."
The shooting suspect was wounded, captured and taken to a hospital, the Associated Press reported.
Crum was elected sheriff in January.
His death follows a string of high-profile assassinations of law enforcement officers and prosecutors in recent weeks, including two Texas prosecutors and the chief of Colorado's prison system.
Investigators from around the country are working to determine if there is any connection among the killings.
Since April 2, 2012, 28 police officers have been killed nationwide, according to preliminary data by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Of those deaths, 13 were caused by guns.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Thousands of people are protesting Patriot Coal Corp.'s bankruptcy reorganization plan in downtown Charleston, West Virginia.
The protesters gathered at the Charleston Civic Center for a rally organized by the United Mine Workers of America. They heard from speakers including Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin before walking a short distance to protest outside Patriot Coal's West Virginia offices at Laidley Tower.
Last week, the House of Delegates called for bankrupt Patriot Coal to honor its pension and benefit commitments to some 23,000 retired miners and their dependents.
St. Louis-based Patriot is trying shed some of that $1.6 billion liability as it restructures. Patriot contends the move is needed to save 4,000 existing jobs.