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Thursday
Apr042013

West Virginia Sheriff Shot Dead; Alleged Gunman in Critical Condition

Hemera/Thinkstock(WILLIAMSON, W. Va.) -- A 36-year-old man who allegedly shot and killed a sheriff at point blank range in West Virginia on Wednesday was described as being in critical condition following a shoot-out with police.

Witnesses said Sheriff Eugene Crum was sitting in a car outside the Mingo County courthouse in Williamson when Tennis Melvin Maynard allegedly walked up to the vehicle and shot Crum twice in the head.

Maynard then reportedly went to his truck and drove off.  He was later wounded after exchanging gunfire with police and brought to a hospital where doctors said late Wednesday he was in critical condition.

Crum, a 30-year law enforcement veteran, had a reputation for cracking down hard on drug dealers.  His death follows a string of high-profile murders of law enforcement officials in recent weeks, including two Texas prosecutors and the chief of Colorado's prison system.

Since April 2, 2012, 28 police officers have been killed nationwide, according to preliminary data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.  Of those deaths, 13 were the result of gun violence.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio