Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum was shot and killed as he ate lunch in front of the West Virginia county courthouse on Wednesday.
A county commissioner said that the sheriff was eating at a spot where he could keep an eye on a “pill mill,” where drug activity was suspected. A suspect drove by the sheriff and shot him, authorities said.
The suspect reportedly shot the sheriff at point blank range, and then was also shot.
“Apparently somebody just drove up and shot him,” said local delegate Harry Keith White, D-Mingo. “That’s what they told me. Shot him dead. That’s from our county commissioner in the courthouse, who was crying when he called me.”
Crum had recently been elected sheriff. He campaigned on an anti-drug platform, vowing to crack down on illegal drug activity in the county.
It wasn’t immediately known if the sheriff’s shooting was drug-related. Another local delegate said Crum believed that some people were trying to re-open the “pill mill” and was keeping watch over it when he was shot.
In his time as sheriff, Crum gained a reputation for being tough on crime in his short time as sheriff, especially drug-related crime.
“I had known Eugene, we worked together on projects and different things,” White said. “One of the things he had done was he put together a drug task force before he ever took office…. He put this drug task force together with other law enforcement in the area, and they had done a lot of work and cleaning up a lot of the drug problems down there. ‘Course, he was sworn in Jan. 1, and to my knowledge has done a pretty good job since then.”
White said he remembered Crum as a “great guy, a family guy.”
The condition of the suspect accused of shooting and killing the sheriff in front of the courthouse was not known, but he was reportedly alert and talking when taken to the hospital.