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Elderly man who died went for trooper's rifle, police say

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A 71-year-old Doddridge County man who died after being subdued by State Police last week tried to grab a trooper's rifle during a search of his home, a State Police spokesman said.

State Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous said Elton Wine, 71, of West Union, tried to gain control of the trooper's AR-15 rifle on Sept. 13 as members of the State Police Special Response Team were searching Wine's house for John Bowman, 50.

Bowman was wanted on outstanding warrants for cultivation of marijuana. He was arrested the next day. He was in the North Central Regional Jail on Monday on a charge of felony cultivation of marijuana. Bond was set at $100,000.

According to State Police, both Wine and Bowman had "extensive and violent criminal histories."

On Friday, State Police Sgt. A.D. Nichols said that Wine tried to interfere with troopers' search for Bowman, but did not provide details. Troopers were forced to subdue Wine, Nichols said.

A short time later, Wine complained he was having trouble breathing, police said. Troopers called for an ambulance and administered first aid, but Wine died.

Wine's body was sent to the state medical examiner's office to determine the cause of death. Baylous said further details of the incident will probably not be released until authorities know exactly how Wine died.

"At this time the West Virginia State Police is not currently in a position to release further details about this incident, since the case against Mr. John Bowman remains open," Baylous said.

"Furthermore, any discussion of the incident without knowledge of the medical examiner's conclusion could possibly lead to speculation rather than findings of fact," Baylous said. "However, it is a known fact that immediately following the troopers' announcement of their presence and their lawful entry into the residence, in an attempt to arrest a know violent fugitive, Mr. Wine actively resisted by attempting to gain control of a trooper's service weapon."


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