CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For five hours in July, Rick and Sonja Cool waited with their two children behind their Nicholas County house as police shot it out with their elderly neighbor.
They returned to their home after the standoff ended to find dozens of bullet holes in their bedroom, their living room and their children's bedrooms.
Sonja Cool believed police would step in and help repair the damage they caused, but they've waited months, and nothing has happened.
Nicholas County Prosecuting Attorney James P. Milam said this week that he's filed a claim with the county's insurance carrier -- which should have been filed immediately after the incident.
The problems began at about 9 a.m. on July 6. Sonja Cool called 911 about her 84-year-old neighbor, John C. Evans. She said he was standing on his front porch with a rifle, firing shots indiscriminately.
"I said, 'Please let police know he is confused. He's an elderly man and this is not like him,'" Sonja Cool said. "'Please tell the policemen to be careful.'"
When two Nicholas County sheriff's deputies arrived at the house on 293 Little Trail Road, one of them stepped onto the porch and was wounded with a shotgun blast. 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.
Officers tried to talk to him 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.
Nicholas County emergency dispatchers told the Cools to stay locked inside their house. Sonja Cool and her husband took their 11-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son to a lower part of the house for safety, but they could still hear hundreds of bullets buzzing around the house.
"The police had my house surrounded; they had his house surrounded," she said. "It was just total chaos."
Eventually, one officer noticed the family was still inside their home and came to escort them out. The officer instructed the Cools to run into the woods behind their house until someone came and got them.
Sonja Cool said that's where her family waited for five hours, listening to the gunshots.