The name of the suspect who was killed during this incident has been released. Click here for the most updated information.
WESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — Upshur County’s Chief Deputy Sheriff was shot in the leg late Thursday morning in an incident on I-79 near Weston that at one point shut down all lanes of traffic on both sides of the highway.
It all started at around 10:34 a.m. when someone called Lewis County 911 to report a reckless driver on I-79 northbound near the 99-mile marker according to the West Virginia State Police. Then, more calls came in, reporting a man armed with a gun.
At around the same time, the Upshur County Emergency Management Director was on I-79 when he saw the man with a gun on the interstate, firing randomly. He called and reported what he saw, and the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office responded along with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department. West Virginia State Police also responded.
Law enforcement officers found a man armed with a rifle, lying prone behind a silver Ford Explorer that was parked sideways, blocking both lanes of traffic. Video shared with 12 News by a viewer shows it has Pennsylvania license plates.
State Police say the man fired multiple rounds at officers, and one of them hit an Upshur County Deputy, who Upshur County Sheriff Virgil Miller identified as Upshur County Chief Deputy Sheriff Mike Coffman, in the leg.
Officers returned fire, state police say, shooting the suspect, who died at the scene. At this time, law enforcement agencies have still not released his name, or what they believe his motive may have been.
Upshur County Sheriff Virgil Miller told 12 News that Coffman was taken to Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital where he underwent surgery. He is expected to make a full recovery.
There were multiple civilian vehicles on I-79 when the incident happened. Law enforcement initially had to shut down I-79 in both directions for about an hour. Traffic was detoured onto U.S. Route 19.
Then, I-79 southbound was able to reopen, but I-79 north remained closed for several more hours as crews and crime scene technicians, including a helicopter, investigated.
Officers then directed drivers who were stuck on the northbound side of I-79 to cross the median onto I-79 South.
The West Virginia State Police opened I-79 north at around 4:20 p.m.
Future updates to this story will be reported on wboy.com and over the air on 12 News.