Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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January 25, 2014

Man shoots self at Princeton City Hall

Search warrant for child porn executed earlier at man’s address

PRINCETON — At about 12:20 p.m. Friday afternoon, a male subject entered Princeton City Hall, and in front of employees there, took his own life. About one hour before taking his own life, the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force interviewed the 61-year-old man.

Princeton Police Chief J.W. Howell said that the event took place in the foyer outside city offices. Howell said that, “earlier in the morning, Detective Cpl. S.A. Sommers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force executed a search warrant at his residence, evidence was seized. We believe it may have had something to do with the events that followed.”

Howell said that he notified the sheriff’s department after learning about the search warrant. “That’s why the deputies were there,” Howell said. Howell did not release the name of the victim, but after his family had been notified, Sommers said the suicide victim was David Harrison, 61, of Princeton.

“He was just made aware of (the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigation) this morning,” Sommers said. “He wasn’t named in the search warrant, but his residence was.

“During the (execution of the) search warrant, computers and other digital evidence were seized for further examination and I interviewed Mr. Harrison. At the conclusion of the search warrant and interview, Mr. Harrison was not arrested.” Sommers said that he “would be in touch with him,” he said. “The Internet Crimes Against Children investigation is ongoing.

“Approximately an hour after the search warrant, I was notified of the incident at city hall and responded,” Sommers wrote in response to an email message seeking comment.

Units of the Princeton Police Department were on the scene soon after the initial report of the incident. In addition to Sommers, other detectives with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department responded. The West Virginia State Police also responded, and according to Sommers, he was contacted by an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“They keep statistics on any and all acts of violence involving investigations of child pornography cases,” Sommers said.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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