Motive in Killing of West Virginia Sheriff Not Known

ABC News
Motive in Killing of West Virginia Sheriff Not Known
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Motive in Killing of West Virginia Sheriff Not Known (ABC News)

A West Virginia man, accused of killing a sheriff outside a county courthouse, will likely survive his injuries following a shootout with police, authorities said.

Tennis Melvin Maynard, 37, is accused of shooting Sheriff Eugene Crum twice in the head while the officer sat in his car outside the Mingo County courthouse eating his lunch.

The sheriff had been cracking down on drug dealing in the area, but a motive for the shooting has not been determined or publicly released.

Deputies pursued Maynard to Delbarton, W.Va., where the suspect crashed his car and engaged in a gunfight with cops. He was "shot multiple times," according to West Virginia State Police spokesman Michael Baylous, before he was taken into custody and brought to a nearby hospital.

"At this point, it is believed that Mr. Maynard will survive his injuries," Baylous said.

Maynard has already been charged with attempted murder for the shootout with sheriff's deputies. He has not yet been charged with Crum's murder, but likely will be soon, officials said.

Crum's death follows several weeks in which law enforcement officers and prosecutors have been killed. Two prosecutors were gunned down in Kaufman County, Texas since January. Last month, Tom Clements, chief of the Colorado prison system, was killed in his home.

It is believed that Clements was killed by Evan Ebel, a parolee with links to the white-supremacist prison gang 211 Crew. Authorities in Texas are also working to determine if slain prosecutors Mark Hasse and Mike McLelland were killed by other white supremacists, although they are looking at other possible suspects as well.

"There is no known link" between Maynard and white supremacists or prison gangs, Baylous told ABC News.

West Virginia law prohibits the release of criminal records, but Maynard "was known to the West Virginia State Police," Baylous said.

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