CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A man was shot Wednesday morning while working on the roof of a West Side department store.
Authorities initially thought that Robbie Stewart, 36, of South Charleston, accidentally stepped on a handgun while working on the roof of Young's Department Store, at 1613 Washington St., W., just before 10 a.m. The gun went off, hitting Stewart in the chest.
However, Sgt. Eric Hodges of the Charleston Police Department said Stewart later told officers that he was working on the roof installing a camera when his hand landed on a hidden gun. Hodges said the .25 caliber Titan semi-automatic pistol somehow discharged.
Authorities are not sure how long the gun had been on the roof or how it got there. Police continue to investigate.
Stewart was taken to CAMC General Hospital, where he was in surgery Wednesday afternoon, Hodges said. He said Stewart's injuries did not appear to be life threatening.
Authorities said it was possible someone threw the gun on the roof after using it to commit a crime. But it rained Tuesday night, and Hodges said the gun wasn't wet.
Staff at Young's Department Store declined comment on Wednesday.
Andy Pile, who manages Pile Hardware next door, said the neighborhood used to be more dangerous, but has gotten better since Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster stepped up police patrols in the area.
"In the past two years it's improved immensely," said Pile, whose grandfather started the business.
Pile, who is in the hardware store six days a week, said there are still isolated crime incidents on Washington Street West, but doesn't believe the neighborhood is any more dangerous than other parts of town.
Hodges said police are still trying to figure out exactly how the gun went off. He said Stewart is familiar with guns.
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.