Kanawha County police investigate homicide, car jacking, crash, officer-involved shooting

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford and Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt say there was an officer-involved shooting in Charleston Tuesday morning that is believed to be linked to a homicide and carjacking in the city.

The suspect, who name has not been released, is believed to have carjacked a vehicle at the Walgreens at the foot of the hill at Edgewood following an alleged homicide.

The suspect then crashed the stolen car into another vehicle at Lee Street and Tennessee Avenue near the Exxon gas station and continued to drive.

A Charleston Fire Department ambulance crew and a local resident followed the driver of the car from the crash scene, Rutherford said. Police caught up with the driver, who attempted to jack another car, near the Go Mart on Pennsylvania Avenue around 10 a.m.

Rutherford said the suspect then took an antique flat-iron out of his vehicle at the intersection of Buchanan Street and Bigley Avenue and struck Charleston Police Patrolman Terrence “Austin” Casto multiple times knocking the officer to the ground.

Casto then used a baton to no effect, Rutherford said. The man tried to hit Casto again and that’s when Casto fired two shots striking the suspect, Hunt said.

“As Officer Casto exited his car, he was immediately approached and attacked with a weapon,” Hunt said Tuesday afternoon at a press conference.

“Casto tried to create a distance and give commands. The attacker, the suspect, continued to pursue him.”

Rutherford described the weapon used on the officer as having “very pointed edges on it” and that the officer is lucky to be alive. He said that Casto is out of the hospital and recovering at home as of late Tuesday afternoon.

“When you have an officer down, it’s like attacking the fabric of society,” Rutherford told MetroNews on scene.

“That’s what everybody should be concerned about. You’re actually attacking society because we are here to help people and serve them.”

Rutherford and Hunt both praised the local firefighters and a citizens who followed the suspect and attempted to help Officer Casto with the suspect.

Authorities believe that the suspect was involved in a homicide on Charleston’s West Side earlier Tuesday.

The homicide investigation is occurring at a residence near the intersection of West Washington Street and Georgia Street. A woman was killed in the home.

No other details were given on the homicide at the Tuesday afternoon press conference. More details are expected to be released on Wednesday.

The suspect is out of surgery as of Tuesday afternoon and expected to make a recovery. Hunt said he will face multiple charges including first-degree murder.

Charleston police are investigating the earlier crimes and the sheriff’s office is investigating the officer-involved shooting.

“Any time you have something serious, it’s always good to have another agency with you,” Rutherford said of the sheriff’s office and CPD splitting scenes. “Charleston has asked us to do the investigation on it so we will be doing that. It’s going to take time because there are a lot of things to get involved with.”

The Charleston Police Department, West Virginia State Police, St. Albans Police Department, Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office, and the Charleston Fire Department all responded or assisted with the scene.

Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin released a statement on Tuesday evening:

““Officer down” is never a call you want to hear—ever. Fortunately, because of the quick actions of many, a Charleston Police officer is alive tonight.

“Investigators believe one person committed multiple crimes this morning—including a homicide on Georgia Street. During this time, Patrolman Casto encountered and was approached by a suspect who attacked him with a weapon. Casto was forced to draw his duty weapon and fire upon the suspect, striking him two times. Both the officer and the suspect were transported to the hospital.

“I, and Chief of Police Tyke Hunt, visited Patrolman Casto at the hospital earlier today. Thankfully, he is ok and is now home recovering with his family.

“We witnessed a tremendous amount of support and camaraderie from our first responders today. Members of the Charleston Fire Department were also on scene—alongside Patrolman Casto. Charleston officers on- and off-duty, officers from St. Albans, members of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia State Police all heard the call—and responded.

“Tonight (Tuesday), I am so incredibly thankful for the quick actions of Patrolman Casto, the medical teams who took such great care of our officer, and for our entire first responder community.

MetroNews Jeff Jenkins contributed to this story.

The Charleston Police Department and Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office holds a press conference on Tuesday morning’s event https://t.co/j3xro8d2zT

— Jake Flatley (@JakeFlatley) February 11, 2020