GILMER – A child was narrowly missed by at least one of several bullets fired late Saturday into the Diana home of an Upshur County sheriff’s deputy, an event the sheriff described Monday as an “attack” on his office and the community of Diana.
Upshur County Sheriff Larry Webb is seeking the public’s help to identify whomever fired at his deputy’s home, her personal vehicle and patrol car. He put the bullet-riddled patrol vehicle on display during a news conference outside the sheriff’s office Monday afternoon.
“Due to the amount of damage done to the patrol car, investigators are looking into the likelihood of a retaliation motive on the part of the persons having recent interaction with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office or one of its deputies,” Webb said.
What he referred to as a “deadly conduct incident” occurred at 11 p.m. Saturday, and Webb said it was the first of its nature targeting the sheriff’s office.
He declined to identify the deputy or the caliber, number of rounds fired and suspected type of the weapon or weapons used.
Flanked by members of his force and Upshur District Attorney Billy Byrd, Webb said one round fired by the perpetrators entered the deputy’s home and lodged in the clothing worn by one of her children, who was not injured.
Another round struck the chair the child was seated in as he played video games near a front window.
The deputy, a two-year member of the force, was at home with two of her children at the time of the shooting.
Witnesses observed the shooters were in a brown or tan passenger car that headed west on FM 3245 toward U.S. 259. Webb said the sheriff’s office had identified persons of interest, but said, “We are not going to release that.”
A deputy has been stationed overnight at the woman’s home for protection.
“It saddens me that this has occurred in this county and has targeted your law enforcement agency and our front-line deputies,” said Webb, who has been sheriff since January. “I know that the citizens will stand with us so that the persons who did this are brought to justice. This cannot and will not be tolerated.”
Suspects arrested in the case would face charges of attempted capital murder, retaliation, deadly conduct and aggravated assault against a public servant, Byrd said after the 15-minute news conference.
“All of those are felonies,” he said.
The sheriff’s office is investigating the incident, with Tim Hall serving as lead investigator, Webb said.
He asked that anyone with information about the crime to call the sheriff’s office at (903) 843-2541 or Upshur County Crime Stoppers at (903) 843-3131.
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