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Charleston lawyer Bramble charged with attempted murder

Kenny Kemp
Charleston attorney Mark Bramble (right) is arraigned Wednesday in Kanawha County Magistrate Court on charges of attempted murder and wanton endangerment.
Lawrence Pierce Bramble was ordered held in the South Central Regional Jail in lieu of a $200,000 bail.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Charleston attorney who allegedly fired at police during a three-hour standoff was arrested and jailed Wednesday, despite pleas that he be allowed to check into a mental institution.

Mark Anthony Bramble, 49, was charged with attempted murder and wanton endangerment after being released from Thomas Memorial Hospital.

Police, including SWAT teams and bomb squad members, went to Bramble's Sherwood Forest house at about 9:15 a.m. Monday after his wife called 911 to report that Bramble was hallucinating and shooting guns. Bramble's wife fled from the home before Bramble shot himself in the side of the head, police said. The head wound was considered minor.

During an arraignment hearing in Kanawha County Magistrate Court on Wednesday, Michael Payne, Bramble's attorney, requested that his client be released on bail to receive mental health treatment. Bramble was experiencing a mental episode during Monday's shooting incident and he does not have a violent past, Payne said.

"He wasn't himself at the time," Payne said.

Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor Fred Giggenbach countered that Bramble is a danger to others and needs to be in jail.

"This officer had bullets whizzing by his head," Giggenbach said of a Charleston detective. "[Bramble] tried to kill people."

At one point Monday, Bramble allegedly broke out a window and pointed a long gun and fired at police. One officer returned fire with an AR-15 rifle but did not hit Bramble.

Kanawha County Magistrate Mike Sisson said security is greater inside a jail than inside a hospital. He ordered Bramble held in the South Central Regional Jail in lieu of a $200,000 cash-only bail. Sisson said mental health services at the jail are adequate enough and that Bramble would be placed on suicide watch.

A doctor at Thomas Memorial Hospital requested that Bramble receive a hearing before a mental hygiene court, Payne said. Sisson said that would be set at a later date.

Sisson also said Bramble could not have contact with his wife, Lori Ann.

Lori Ann Bramble attended Wednesday's hearing, but stayed in a room adjacent to the courtroom. She did not talk to her husband and declined to talk to a reporter.

Bramble initially pointed a gun at his wife during Monday's incident, according to the criminal complaint.

Police said Bramble was upset about something for days before the shooting incident but that they did not know what. He fired dozens of rounds during the incident, which led to his neighbors being evacuated, police said.

Bramble had worked in the Workers' Compensation Division of the West Virginia Attorney General's Office. He was hired last year by then-Attorney General Darrell McGraw.

Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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