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Robbery suspect appears to die of OD

August 8, 2018

HUNTINGTON — A man who allegedly committed an armed robbery of a video lottery establishment near Barboursville on Tuesday morning later died of a suspected overdose after being apprehended by police.

Justin Brafford, of Hurricane, West Virginia, died at a local hospital after he was apprehended by Cabell County sheriff’s deputies following a chase through eastern Cabell County. Brafford had told deputies he ingested methamphetamine, said Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle, though he also had a head wound from crashing his vehicle during the chase.

The incident began around 10 a.m. when Brafford allegedly entered Pam’s Parlor in the 5200 block of U.S. 60, near the 29th Street exit, wearing a mask and brandishing a gun, Zerkle said. He left the establishment with thousands of dollars, according to Zerkle.

Brafford then headed east on U.S. 60 in a stolen work truck from a Charleston business. Deputies in Ona spotted the truck and gave chase. Brafford crashed the truck in a ditch near Howell’s Mill Road and fled on foot. He was tracked by a K-9 officer and, with help from the West Virginia State Police, was caught without incident, Zerkle said.

Zerkle said Brafford told them he ingested meth, but he appeared fine. He was treated by EMS on scene, but while being transported by deputies his condition began to decline. EMS was called back and Brafford was taken to a hospital, where he later died.

Brafford’s body will be sent for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Deputies are still searching for the weapon, which Brafford told them he had thrown out of the truck window into the woods.

The West Virginia State Police will handle the investigation.

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