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Shooting victim 'was targeted,' police say

Courtesy photo
James Foster was shot in the right arm and right leg at about 1:30 a.m. Friday.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston police believe a shooting early Friday in downtown Charleston might have been in retaliation for a May shooting incident on the city's West Side.

Sgt. Tony Hazelett of the Charleston Police Department said James Foster, 19, was shot once in the right arm and once in the right leg in the 1000 block of Quarrier Street at about 1:30 a.m. Foster had been at a private party at Timothy's Bar earlier, but Hazelett said the shooting occurred outside about 100 yards away from the building.

Hazelett said police found seven spent shell cases from a semiautomatic handgun. At least two stray shots hit the Charleston city services offices in the municipal parking building on Quarrier and McFarland streets.

After he was shot, Foster walked to Dickinson Street, then to Lee Street, where he passed out near the Clay Center, Hazelett said.

Police aren't sure what happened right before the shooting, and Foster isn't talking about it, Hazelett said. He said Foster has a criminal history.

"It wasn't just shots being fired," Hazelett said. "He was targeted."

Police reviewed video surveillance footage in an attempt to identify a suspect but were unable to find anything useful, according to police Detective James Hunt.

Charleston Police Department Chief Detective Lt. Steve Cooper said Foster was being "extremely uncooperative" with police, not only refusing to name the person who shot him, but also ordering his girlfriend not to name the shooter. He said Foster is "well known" to police and has a criminal record.

Cooper said those involved in criminal activity on the streets typically refuse to provide information to police. "There's just a code that you don't snitch," he said.

However, Cooper said police think Foster's shooting may have been in retaliation for the shooting of Danny Dickerson Jr. on May 19. Dickerson, 20, was shot in the leg near the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Grant Street, and also refused to cooperate with police.

Cooper said police think Foster may be the man who pulled the trigger. He said police discovered crack cocaine hidden in a hat at the scene of Dickerson's shooting. Marijuana was found near where Foster was shot, he said.

"Drugs were found at both locations, and both victims refused to cooperate with police," Cooper said.

The shooting Friday happened outside an event that had been billed as a pre-Multifest party. The outdoor street festival is going on this weekend on the state Capitol grounds.

However, Multifest is an alcohol-free event, and Charleston Mayor Danny Jones took pains to point out that the party was in no way affiliated with Multifest and in no way sanctioned by the event's planners. "They're basically interlopers, playing off the name of Multifest," Jones said of the promoters who are pushing parties during the same weekend as Multifest.

Jones did not know if the city would take any action against the owners of Timothy's.

"They have exposure here," he said, pointing out that Foster was under the legal drinking age and that a shooting took place following an event at the bar.

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.


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