DELBARTON, W.Va. -- More than 20 years ago, when he was police chief of a small Mingo County town, Eugene Crum taught a dozen boys how to fight.
The Delbarton Boxing Club was formed in the early 1990s as a way for local politicians to get involved in a youth program and campaign at sporting events.
Crum gained a reputation as a tough coach bent on training his fighters to be the best in the state. Those fighters included his own 8-year-old son, "Bub."
They also included 15-year-old Tennis Melvin Maynard -- the man now accused of shooting Crum in the head as the Mingo County sheriff sat in his police cruiser earlier this month.
The teenaged Maynard boxed in several competitions under Crum's guidance before dropping out of the sport during high school.
Crum continued coaching kids, in boxing and other sports, and held a dream of being elected sheriff one day. He realized that goal last fall, and took office in January.
Ninety-three days later, on April 3, Maynard drove into Williamson early in the morning and parked his Ford Ranger pickup along Third Avenue, where Crum ate lunch in his car nearly every day.
After Crum parked, police believe, Maynard walked behind his cruiser and fired two shots from a .40-caliber Glock handgun into Crum's open window. Maynard was later shot and wounded by a Mingo County sheriff's deputy after a chase that ended in Delbarton.
Crum's slaying has rocked Mingo County, where people praise his hard stance against an epidemic of prescription pill abuse. Officials had speculated that Crum's killing was related to dozens of pill-related arrests he made before his death, but investigators quickly ruled out drugs as a motive. Maynard is talking to West Virginia State Police troopers in the hospital but detectives aren't ready to publicly reveal what he's said.
'Eugene didn't think a thing about rolling down that window'
Tommy Diamond used to live in Delbarton and formed the Delbarton Boxing Club after leaving the Marines in the 1970s.
When the sport took off in the late '80s and early '90s, Diamond turned to Crum, a former amateur boxer, to help train a group of young fighters like never before.
Diamond said his boxers became the biggest and most revered in the state.
"Eugene Crum put the boys in there with him and they were sparring with him," said Diamond, now 64 and living in Strawberry Plains, Tenn. "We had some pretty good brutes, and I mean real heavyweights."
Tennis Maynard's father first drove his son to boxing practice in the winter of 1991, because he believed learning a sport would be good for his son, Diamond said.
Maynard officially joined the club shortly before winning a few bouts in an amateur Golden Gloves event in Charleston.
Crum trained closely with Maynard, just like he did with the other boys, Diamond said.
He doesn't remember Crum and Maynard getting into any arguments. Neither can he remember any red flags at all that would show Maynard resented Crum.
Shane Belcher was 9 when he joined the Delbarton Boxing Club in 1991, the same year as Maynard.
"I remember [Crum] used to run us to death and make us do suicide drills up and down the Burch High School gym," said Belcher, now 33. "He used to run us to death."