CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For the second time in two years, an Oak Hill police officer has been shot in the line of duty, and police are searching for the shooter.
At about 1 a.m. Wednesday, Sgt. J.L. Kirk with the Oak Hill Police Department responded to an alarm at the Maple Court Apartments near the top of Whipple Hill, according to a news release from Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler and Oak Hill Police Chief Michael Whisman.
Kirk, 32, started to walk around the building to investigate when he noticed a man walking down the road toward Whipple, according to the release.
Kirk drove his marked police cruiser toward the man. When he got out of his car, the man allegedly turned toward Kirk and shot him once with a small-caliber handgun.
The bullet struck Kirk in the lower left portion of his abdomen, but was stopped from penetrating his skin by a bulletproof vest. Kirk drew his handgun and returned fire, but the man fled the area on foot, according to the release.
Kirk, a 12-year veteran of the Oak Hill Police Department, was taken to Plateau Medical Center in Oak Hill. He was examined and released, and joined other officers in trying to find the shooter.
The alleged shooter is a black male of medium height and medium to stocky build.
His hair was loosely braided in either cornrows or dreadlocks and extended near his collar, or possibly shorter, according to the release.
The man was last seen heading in the direction of Whipple wearing a short-sleeve green shirt and blue jeans.
He was believed to be right-handed and had a small weapon, possibly a .25-caliber semi-automatic pistol, according to the release. He is considered armed and dangerous.
This is the second time in a little more than two years that an Oak Hill officer "has been saved by a bulletproof vest" in the line of duty, Whisman said.
On March 18, 2010, Cpl. C.A. Young had stopped a Cadillac with Ohio license plates on W.Va. 16 around 4:15 a.m. when the driver shot him.