Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 10, 2012

McDowell County trooper involved in second fatal Mercer County shooting this year

BLUEFIELD — A local prosecutor confirmed the identity this morning of a West Virginia state trooper who fatally shot a suspect July 7 during a struggle.

Trooper J.R. Coburn of the West Virginia State Police detachment in Welch shot the unidentified male subject, Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash said today. The person was arrested during a traffic stop Saturday evening, handcuffed and placed in a Bluefield Police Department cruiser, but he managed to get his hands in front of him, climbed into the vehicle’s front seat and drove away. The pursuit led to Country Girl Road off Route 460. There the suspect attempted to flee on foot and in a struggle, a Bluefield police officer lost his sidearm. Coburn shot the suspect when he refused to relinquish the weapon, according to a press release from the West Virginia State Police.

Ash said this morning that the officer who lost the handgun during the struggle Saturday was Patrolman John Murray Jr. Ash was not sure which officer had been using the cruiser that was taken.

Ash declined to release the name of the person who was shot and killed Saturday. He said the state police were notifying the next of kin.

This case is the second one involving Coburn this year, Ash said. In January, Coburn fatally shot Jackie Spalding Jr., 34, of Colorado during a stand-off with police at Woodlawn Cemetery in Bluewell. Ash said he had not yet received a report about that shooting. The case is being investigated by the West Virginia State Police.

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