Suspect in West Virginia murders kills self in Lewis County

2011-09-06T23:00:00Z 2011-09-08T11:01:50Z Suspect in West Virginia murders kills self in Lewis CountyMISTY MAYNARD Ledger Independent
September 06, 2011 11:00 pm  • 

VANCEBURG -- A man suspected in the shooting deaths of five people in Monongalia County, W. Va., Monday evening killed himself after a Lewis County deputy attempted to stop him for reckless driving.

The suspect in the shootings was identified as 22-year-old Shayne Riggleman of Morgantown, W. Va. Riggleman was wanted for questioning in connection with the murders of five people in the U.S. 19/Sugar Grove area of Monongalia County.

Riggleman shot and killed himself after Lewis County Deputy Matt Ross attempted a traffic stop on the 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee he was driving, said Lewis County Deputy Jason Hill.

Hill said the sheriff's office received a call around 11:30 p.m., Monday of a reckless driver, suspected to be Riggleman, on Kentucky 9 who was attempting to run other vehicles off the road. Hill said the driver would pull his vehicle up beside other cars on the road and cut over in front of them right before oncoming traffic.

At one point, Riggleman allegedly pulled off onto the shoulder of the road and allowed a car he had passed to pass him, Hill said. Riggleman then attempted to run the car off the road again, Hill said.

Ross located Riggleman on Kentucky 9 just past Skidmore Drive. Hill said Ross turned on the vehicle and activated his lights. The Jeep Grand Cherokee continued on for about half a mile, Hill said, before pulling off on the right side of the road.

Hill said Ross called in the traffic stop and approached the Jeep, shining a flashlight into the vehicle. As he approached the driver side window, Hill said Ross saw the barrel of a gun leaning against the window. He backed away and withdrew his weapon, Hill said, and called for backup.

Ross approached the driver side door again and could see the driver had apparently shot himself, Hill said. However, he could not see whether there was anyone else in the vehicle and waited for backup to arrive.

Hill, along with Lt. Tom Flannigan and Officer Mike Ginn from the Vanceburg Police Department, responded to the scene. Hill said the officers covered and visually cleared the vehicle. The back glass of the vehicle had to be broken out in order to clear the vehicle because the windows were fogged up.

Hill said the vehicle was still in drive and Riggleman's foot was on the brake.

Inside the vehicle were two weapons, Hill said, including a 30-30 rifle that Ross had seen leaned against the window and a .22-caliber rifle.

Riggleman was determined to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the left portion of his head, Hill said.

A case of beer was also found in the passenger floor board, Hill said, and Riggleman was believed to have been drinking.

Searching Riggleman, police located a check card belonging to the suspect as well as credit cards belonging to Karin and Charles Richardson, Hill said.

Charles Richardson III and his wife, Karin Richardson were identified among the five murder victims in West Virginia. Also killed by Riggleman were the couples children, 17-year-old Kevin Hudson, and 22-year-old Katrina Hudson; along with 30-year-old Robert Raber whose relationship to the family was not revealed. Katrina Hudson was six months pregnant, according to West Virginia police.

According to the West Virginia State Police, a call came in for a welfare check at a residence at 100 Sugar Grove Road around 6:30 p.m., Monday. Police discovered three bodies inside the residence.

According to police, troopers secured the perimeter and contacted the Special Response Team. The SRT leader and three troopers entered the residence.

When the West Virginia State Police Crime Scene team arrived, two more bodies were found, according to police.

All five victims were determined to have been shot.

Riggleman was determined to have left the residence on Sugar Grove Road in the Jeep Grand Cherokee owned by one of the victims, according to police. He drove to Pennsylvania where he met a friend briefly before leaving and traveling south on Interstate 79, according to police.

According to the West Virginia State Police, Riggleman struck a vehicle in Pennsylvania and when the elderly female driver exited the vehicle, he ran her over.

Riggleman then drove to an Exxon gas station in Roane County, W.Va., where he "randomly shot and seriously wounded the station attendant in the back of the neck," according to police. The attendant, identified as Donnie Nichols, is in critical condition but expected to recover, according to police.

West Virginia State Police Capt. James Merrill called the case "one of the most heinous crimes I've ever witnessed."

Merrill said it was unfortunate the case ended the way it did -- with Riggleman's death -- but that he believed Riggleman would not have stopped.

Merrill would not comment on a motive.

Charles Richardson III's father, Charles Richardson Jr., said he was not aware of his son having problems with anyone. He did not recognize Riggleman's name and said he did not know of any connection between the suspect and his son.

Lewis County Sheriff Johnny Bivens said he would like to send his condolences to the victims and their family members. However, he said his main focus was on the safety of his deputies.

"I'm thankful they're OK," Bivens said. "They did a tremendous job."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Copyright 2015 Ledger Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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