Volunteer firefighter shoots hammer-wielding killer to halt rampage

The firefighter will not face charges because he was attempting to prevent the suspect from causing more harm

By Zack Harold
The Charleston Daily Mail

MINGO COUNTY, W. Va. — Police in Mingo County shot and killed a man Wednesday night after he threatened them with a claw hammer, which he had previously used to attack his roommate before running over him with a stolen pickup.

The roommate also was dead at the scene.

State Trooper D.M. William son said roommates Phillip Gilman, 43, and Alfred Curry, 73, got into a fight around 9 p.m. at their Elk Creek house, near Delbarton.

Williamson said he had no idea why Curry and Gilman were fighting. Neighbors told police Gilman, a registered sex offender convicted of rape in 2005, "had been acting crazy all day." They said he walked up and down the road all day, swinging a hammer and looking at the sky.

Gilman attacked Curry with that hammer Wednesday night. The older man got out of their home but collapsed outside.

A passing motorist found him lying in the middle of the road.

Williamson said the woman saw Curry lying in the road, found out who he was and called his half-brother, Mingo County Commissioner Dave Baisden.

Baisden arrived a short time later in his county-owned Ford F250 pickup. When he jumped out of the truck to tend to his brother, Gilman got in the driver's seat and took off, running over Curry as he sped down the road.

Williamson said Gilman came back a short time later and parked the pickup over Curry's body. Gilman then got into a fight with Baisden, who shot his gun at the ground to scare Gilman off.

A volunteer firefighter then arrived on scene and drew his pistol, shooting Gilman twice in the leg. Although wounded, the suspect ran away on foot.

Trooper Williamson, along with Delbarton police and Mingo sheriff's deputies, found Gilman a quarter-mile down the road from Curry's body, sitting in the middle of the road. The man took off again when he saw police.

Gilman, still carrying the hammer he had used to injure Curry, had gained a few hundred yards by the time police gave chase.

"While we were chasing him, he turned and sprinted toward us," Williamson said.

Gilman rushed the officers, brandishing his hammer. Williamson said they gave the suspect multiple commands to stop, to put his hands up, to get on the ground and to drop the hammer.

"He didn't."

Officers opened fire when Gilman was 15 feet away, killing him.

Williamson said the volunteer firefighter, whose name he could not remember, will not be charged for shooting Gilman.

"He shot him to prevent further damage to Baisden or the victim lying on the ground," he said.
Baisden was not injured.

Williamson said he is unsure if drugs were involved in Gilman's rampage. He said state medical examiners likely would perform an autopsy on Gilman to find out. Police searched the scene but did not find any evidence of drugs.

"As of right now, we don't know," he said. "Mingo County, there always could be a possibility."


Copyright 2012 Charleston Newspapers


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