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Nicholas man, 84, shoots 2 deputies, dies in gunfight

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two Nicholas County sheriff's deputies were shot Saturday morning, sparking a nearly five-hour standoff between the suspected shooter and police that ended when police shot and killed the 84-year-old man.

Both officers that were shot, Deputy Hansford "Buddy" Stapleton of Summersville and Sgt. Richard T. Allison of Richwood, are expected to survive, according to West Virginia State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous.

Baylous said the events unfolded like this:

Just after 9 o'clock Saturday morning, 911 dispatchers received a call about a dispute between neighbors near Craigsville.

When deputies arrived at the house on 293 Little Trail Road, one of them stepped onto the porch and was wounded with a shotgun blast.

Baylous said the shooter was John C. Evans, 84.

As more officers arrived on the scene, a second deputy was shot.

Officers from six agencies surrounded the house but could not successfully communicate with Evans, who had barricaded himself inside and was sporadically shooting at them through doors and windows.

Evans had at least three guns in the house, Baylous said.

Officers tried to talk to Evans using a bullhorn, by telephone and by using a robot that usually is used by bomb squads but also is used for hostage negotiations.

They also used tear gas to try to get Evans out of the house.

"They tried to establish lines of communication," Baylous said, "Nothing worked."

At 12:45, just after firing a number of shots out the front door of his house, Evans walked out the back door holding a shotgun.

He was shot and killed by officers before he was able to shoot, Baylous said.

Baylous said he could not speak to Evans' mental state.

"Who knows what his physical or mental well-being was," Baylous said. "Frankly, when we're in situations like that, we always hope for the best outcome possible, but we can't call for a timeout and assess his well-being."

CAMC General listed Stapleton and Allison as "under evaluation."

Reach David Gutman at david.gutman@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.


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