2 officers, suspect shot in WVa highway shootout
LEWISBURG, West Virginia (AP) — Two police officers were injured in a New Year’s Day shootout after they pulled over two vehicles, one of which was stolen and had two bodies inside, authorities said.
The two officers stopped an SUV and a truck around 4 p.m. Thursday on a highway outside of the city, Lt. Michael Baylous of the West Virginia State Police said in a news release. The SUV had a North Carolina license plate that showed it had been stolen.
As the officers were conducting the stop, the driver of the truck shot at them with a handgun, wounding both officers, Baylous said. One officer returned fire, wounding the suspect in the leg.
Baylous said the driver of the SUV fled the scene and hid but later turned himself in without incident. The driver of the truck also fled and was eventually taken into custody by the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Department, he said.
The suspects’ identities have not yet been verified but they claim to be father and son, Baylous said.
During a search, authorities found two recently deceased bodies under a mattress in the bed of the truck, according to the news release.
State Police did not immediately identify the victims, but North Carolina’s Granville County Sheriff Brindell B. Wilkins Jr. told Raleigh TV station WRAL that the bodies were those of Jerome Faulkner, 73, and his wife Dora Faulkner, 62.
The sheriff told the station that the two suspects burst into the Faulkners’ home near Oak Hill Thursday morning, set the house on fire and took the couple and their SUV.
Wilkins said it was not immediately clear why the two were targeted or whether they were killed in the initial attack or some time later.
The Associated Press could not immediately reach Wilkins late Thursday.
The two Lewisburg officers and the suspected shooter were being treated for injuries that were not life-threatening, authorities said.