Ona, WV – Two Cabell County sheriff’s deputies were shot as they were executing a search warrant on Wednesday night.
Earlier in the day, Cabell County sheriff’s deputies responded to a residence on Blue Sulfer Road to conduct a robbery investigation, the Associated Press reported.
The suspect, Michael Pinkerman, became uncooperative with the investigators so they obtained a search warrant and returned to the residence, The Herald Dispatch reported.
But Pinkerman blocked the door and refused to allow the deputies inside.
Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle told reporters that the SWAT team was called to the scene and had just forced entry when someone inside the residence opened fire on them at approximately 6:30 p.m., according to the Associated Press.
Cabell County Sheriff’s Deputy Jared Cremeans was shot at least four times, including hits to his hand and shoulder, Sheriff Zerkle told WSAZ.
He will undergo surgery on Thursday, and is expected to recover from his wounds, West Virginia MetroNews reported.
Cabell County Sheriff’s Deputy Jimmy Johnston was shot twice in the chest, but the rounds were stopped by his ballistic vest.
He was transported to a local hospital for treatment and has since been released.
Deputies returned fire and Pinkerman was fatally shot, West Virginia MetroNews reported.
Sheriff Zerkle said that Pinkerman’s father was shot in the hand during the exchange of gunfire and is expected to be charged in connection with the incident, The Herald-Dispatch reported.
“It’s one of these things we deal with it, we train for it every day,” the sheriff said, according to WSAZ. “You don’t want it to come to this. The best thing about today is that my guys are all still alive and they are going to go home.”
He referred to the incident as a “close call,” and said he was grateful that the deputies were wearing protective gear and that they were well-trained.
“God was with them, and they get to go another day,” Sheriff Zerkle said.
West Virginia Sheriff’s Association Executive Director Rodney Miller visited the wounded deputies at the hospital in the wake of the attack, WBAZ reported.
“Despite everything they’ve been through, they were both in good spirits while undergoing treatment,” Miller told the news outlet. “They’re very fortunate, lucky to have had their protective gear on and things like that. They’re fortunate at this point.”
Miller wasn’t their only visitor – law enforcement officers from throughout the county made their way to the hospital on Wednesday night as a show of support for Deputy Johnston and Deputy Cremeans.
“They do rally around one another and rally around the families when something tragic like this happens,” Miller noted. “It’s one of our own, so it’s the common response.”
According to Sheriff Zerkle, Pinkerman was also under investigation for allegedly firing 13 rounds at the Ona Volunteer Fire Department on Tuesday, WSAZ reported.
Three fire trucks were damaged during that incident.