Lewisburg, West Virginia, is your typical sleepy Appalachian town -- until 4 p.m. on New Year's Day, when two West Virginia police officers pulled over a white SUV with stolen North Carolina tags, which were listed in the NCIC database. As they pulled over the SUV, a red pickup pulled over not far away on the Lewisburg exit on Interstate 64.
What may have seemed like a routine traffic stop quickly turned into a shootout and the discovery of a dead elderly couple inside the vehicle.
Unfortunately, this is not the first multiple shooting in a quiet West Virginia town in the past month. In early December, a man shot his former girlfriend, her relatives, and himself near Morgantown, prompting a manhunt in the state.
In this particular incident, the man in the red pickup truck shot both officers as they approached the white SUV, wounding both, but neither critically. One reportedly was shot in his bullet-proof vest, and the other had a grazing bullet injury to the knee. One officer was able to return fire, wounding the suspect, as the SUV drove off.
As police backup arrived, the shooter, who had been shot in the leg, ran into the woods, where he gave himself up after a short period of time. Temperatures in the Appalachians were cold and windy on Thursday, particularly as dusk settled.
The driver of the SUV drove his vehicle behind a guardrail to hide a short distance away on Interstate 64, but also turned himself in within a short period of time. It is unknown if the two men were communicating by cell phone or other means during that time.
Eventually, the pair admitted they were father and son, with the father being the shooter.
During a search of the Chevrolet truck, two recently deceased bodies were discovered in the bed of the truck, under a mattress. It is believed that the victims are from North Carolina. The West Virginia State Police has been in contact with law enforcement officials in North Carolina, who have stated the deceased are husband and wife, Jerome and Dora Faulkner of Granville, North Carolina.
It is believed the couple were taken by the two men in the couple's SUV, their home set ablaze, and the couple was killed sometime later. The motive at this time is unclear, but officials believe it was a random act.
The men in custody are from Texas, according to North Carolina police.
Both officers were transported to Greenbrier Medical Center for treatment to their wounds, which are non-life-threatening. One of the suspects was also treated at Greenbrier Medical Center for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. The two suspects will be arrested for malicious assault and attempted murder of a police officer in Greenbrier County.
This latest double officer shooting has occurred at a time when police injuries and shootings are increasing, purportedly spurred by racial tensions due to what some are saying is police brutality across the nation.