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W.Va. man faces more than 30 charges after firing almost 20 bullets in neighborhood

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 10:29 PM EDT
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WILLIAMSON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A man from Mingo County faces more than 30 charges, including attempted murder of a police officer, after firing nearly 20 shots throughout a neighborhood in Williamson early Wednesday morning.

Williamson Police Chief Grady Dotson said there were several 911 calls for an active shooter firing shots along 6th Avenue on Williamson’s West End. It all happened around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

When officers arrived, they found Andrew Hicks, 25, of Williamson, standing in his front yard firing gun shots, some of which, went into other homes.

“I saw the police show up and they were asking (the suspect) to put the gun down and lay down on the ground, and he basically refused,” said nearby neighbor Richard Morrison.

Chief Dotson said Williamson officers recently took an active shooter in-service course, so they were well-trained for this type of situation. He said the officers parked farther away and approached Hicks on foot. Once they arrived, Hicks started shooting in their direction. Dotson said though they were fired at, officers did not return fire because they didn’t want to make the situation worse.

“He was firing at officers and really, honestly, probably would’ve gave us the green light to engage back and return fire,” Dotson told WSAZ. “At the time, officers did not feel that it was necessary, they felt it was still somewhat safe so they continued to give verbal commands. The ultimate goal in law enforcement is preserve life, so when we wanted to preserve the life of not only the citizens of Williamson, but also the suspect as well.”

Dotson said eventually, Hicks listened to the verbal commands and was taken into police custody.

“When we train, we train to shoot these weapons, an individual just shooting a weapon like that, that isn’t trained, whatever the case may be, them bullets have to go somewhere and a lot of them stray bullets went into residential homes putting a lot of people at risk.”

Police found at least 16 shell casings throughout 6th Avenue and some in nearby homes.

Investigators are still looking into a motive but police did say Hick was “highly intoxicated” during the time of the incident.

“Anytime you have an individual that’s actively shooting, whether you know the motive or not, we take that very seriously.”

Chief Dotson said Hicks is a familiar face to law enforcement but his previous crimes did not escalate to this level.

The Mingo County Sheriff’s Office and West Virginia State Police helped assist with the arrest.

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