Prosecutors clear deputies of any wrongdoing in fatal officer-involved shooting

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Prosecutor’s Office has determined that the deputies in a fatal officer-involved shooting on New Year’s Eve in Cross Lanes were justified with their actions.

Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford held a press conference on Thursday morning to release more details about the incident and announce the findings from the investigation that ultimately determined there was no indication of criminal conduct on the deputies’ part.

At around 11:30 p.m. on December 31, deputies responded to a subdivision in Cross Lanes, West Gate located on Dawn Street and Big Tyler Road, after a report of a suspicious person who may have pointed a gun at another person.

The suspect, Michael Vincent Davis 49 of Poca, encountered deputies briefly and began running down Dawn Street, according to Rutherford. That’s when Davis fired shots back at the deputies with a 9mm handgun, which was caught on surveillance footage.

The video was shown to the media on Thursday.

Davis continued to flee from officers through backyards and neighborhoods, Rutherford said

“He crashed through a six-foot vinyl fence and as he did that, he immediately turned and open fire again on the deputies,” Rutherford said on Thursday. “At which point, the deputies returned fire, striking him and causing injuries to him.”

“Deputies attempted to do medical aid and called for an ambulance. Davis was then transported to CAMC General.”

Davis died from his injuries on January 8 at CAMC General.

He was named in a warrant for two counts of attempted murder and two counts of wanton endangerment but he never made it out of the hospital.

Rutherford said the deputies showed great restraint and were very cautious in their return fire because of the neighborhood.

“Not only did they take their lives into their own hands to chase after this individual,” Rutherford said. “They also were very cautious about using their firearms and endangering anybody in that neighborhood. I can’t say how much I am proud of them and how great a job they did.”