2 officers, suspect shot in W.Va. highway shootout

- FILE - Crime Scene Tape (Photo: Shutterstock)

LEWISBURG, W.Va. (AP) — Two West Virginia police officers were injured in a New Year’s Day shootout after a traffic stop involving a stolen SUV and a truck with two dead bodies inside, authorities said.

The two Lewisburg officers pulled over an SUV around 4 p.m. Thursday on a highway outside of the city, Lt. Michael Baylous of the West Virginia State Police said in a press release. The SUV had a North Carolina license plate that showed it had been stolen. During the stop, a truck pulled over in the area.

As the officers were conducting the stop, the driver of the truck shot at them with a handgun, wounding both officers, Baylous said. One officer returned fire, wounding the suspect in the leg.

Baylous said the driver of the SUV fled the scene and hid but later turned himself in without incident. The driver of the truck also fled and was eventually taken into custody by the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Department, he said.

The suspects’ identities have not yet been verified but they claim to be father and son, Baylous said.

During a search, authorities found two recently deceased bodies under a mattress in the bed of the truck, according to the news release.

State Police did not immediately identify the victims, but North Carolina’s Granville County Sheriff Brindell B. Wilkins Jr. told Raleigh TV station WRAL that the bodies were those of Jerome Faulkner, 73, and his wife, Dora Faulkner, 62.

The sheriff told the station that the two suspects burst into the Faulkners’ home near Oak Hill on Thursday morning, set the house on fire and took the couple and their SUV.

Wilkins said it was not immediately clear why the two were targeted or whether they were killed in the initial attack or sometime later.

The Associated Press could not immediately reach Wilkins late Thursday.

The two Lewisburg officers and the suspected shooter were being treated for injuries that were not life-threatening, Donna Hinkle, administrator of the Greenbrier County 911 center, told the AP.

The two suspects will be arrested on charges of malicious assault and attempted murder of a police officer in Greenbrier County, according to the news release.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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