Police probe into fatal Martinsburg shooting continues

Martinsburg police say that 45-year-old Tiffany Lee Overholser was pronounced dead at City Hospital following the Dec. 28 incident outside her residence.

Two Martinsburg officers went to the home at 108 S. Georgia Ave. in Martinsburg around 3 a.m. after police received a call from a woman who told Central Dispatch another woman was pointing a gun at her.

Police say when they arrived on the scene, Overholser came out of the house holding a handgun. She took several steps toward the officers and then pointed the weapon at one of them. Both officers fired.

Police say the gun belonged not to Overholser, but to a family member. Investigators later determined that it had been Overholser who called dispatchers and that no second woman was involved.

Both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave until the investigation concludes.

SHEPHERDSTOWN

Another Mountain State suit: A Shepherdstown attorney has filed another student lawsuit against Mountain State University.

The latest lawsuit brings to 21 the number of cases filed against Mountain State in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg by attorney Sherman Lambert Sr.’s firm.

Lambert says all the lawsuits accuse Mountain State entities and former president Charles H. Polk of racketeering.

Mountain State was forced to shut down after an appeals panel of the Chicago-based Higher Learning Commission denied the school’s bid to regain its accreditation.

The commission revoked the private Beckley-based school’s accreditation in June, with commission officials citing leadership, organizational and integrity issues.

Another private school, the University of Charleston, took over Mountain State’s campuses in Beckley and Martinsburg so students could complete their degrees. The commission has approved UC’s expansion to the facilities.

SAINT ALBANS

Shoplifter suspect sought in trooper attack: West Virginia State Police say they are searching for a 35-year-old Kanawha County woman after her car struck an off-duty trooper attempting to arrest her for shoplifting on New Year’s Eve.

Monday’s events began at around 5 p.m. near the Goody’s clothing store at the Saint Albans Mall, police say.

The trooper is at Charleston Area Medical Center’s General Hospital in the intensive care unit with a serious head injury and other ailments, said State Police First Sgt. Michael Baylous.

Jennifer Elaine Garretson, 35, is described as a white female, with medium-length wavy brown hair. She drove off after hitting the officer, whose name has not been released.

At the time of the incident, Garretson was wearing a long-sleeved pink shirt and boots and driving a small, dark-colored compact car with rust along the bottom, according to Capt. James Agee with the Saint Albans Police Department.

It’s unclear just what charges Garretson will face. “Shoplifting is a citation event, and obviously this was taken to another level,” Agee said.

He said anyone with information about the car or the suspect should dial 911 or phone police in Saint Albans at 304-348-8111. Callers may remain anonymous, Agee said.

CHARLESTON

Senate clerk retiring: Longtime West Virginia Senate Clerk Darrell Holmes is set to retire.

Holmes, first elected to the post in 1989, will have his last day Jan. 9. He says he’s enjoyed the job.

The Senate Clerk’s Office provides assistance to senators and produces the daily Senate journal. As clerk, Holmes oversees 41 full-time employees. During legislative sessions, the body employs about 120 part-time workers.

In retirement, he says he’s thinking about reopening a machine shop that he ran when he served in the Legislature.

Before becoming the Senate clerk, the Kanawha County Democrat served four terms in the House of Delegates and two terms in the Senate.

Shelter’s needs on the rise: A West Virginia shelter that serves as a safe haven for people dealing with homelessness reports that its donations are increasing, but so is the need for them.

Officials at Covenant House say they have seen an uptick in clothing and food donations this year. But, according to Covenant House Executive Director Ellen Allen, there have also been nearly 10,000 more client contacts this year compared with two years ago.

Other nonprofits are experiencing similar circumstances. A soup kitchen that serves two meals a day in downtown Charleston says it normally serves 130 people on Christmas.

This year, Manna Meal served 180 people. Manna Meal Executive Director Jean Simpson says a lot of people are donating small amounts of money that can add up to help meet the demand.

Sandy cleanup aid: Officials with the Labor Department say West Virginia will get $300,000 to help with cleanup efforts in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

The money is being awarded to WorkForce West Virginia to create temporary jobs. The jobs will be for eligible dislocated workers who will assist with cleanup and recovery efforts.

Eighteen counties in West Virginia have been declared eligible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance program. Among those, state officials have targeted Barbour, Preston, Tucker, Upshur and Webster. Additional counties may be included later.

DHHR security guard robbed: Police are looking for two men who robbed a state security guard in a downtown Charleston garage in the predawn hours of New Year’s Eve.

Charleston police say one of the suspects was armed with a gun. The Department of Health and Human Resources guard was making his rounds when he was robbed at 3:15 a.m. Monday, according to police.

The suspects swiped some $200 in cash.

CAMERON

Record-setting high schooler: A Marshall County high school cheerleader has set a world record for consecutive back hand-springs.

Maddie Ross, a student at Cameron High, on Dec. 28 managed to complete 36 consecutive back hand-springs, beating the standing record by one.

During football season, Ross completed 43 consecutive back hand-springs but that performance wasn’t an official Guinness Book of World Records try.

In previous official attempts to beat the record, Ross came up short with totals of 30 and 24. Friday’s record-setting effort happened at the Ohio Valley Mall.

In making the 36 hand springs, she traveled 173.2 feet – and said performing her feat on a concrete floor took more out of her than when she executed he moves on the softer setting of a grass-covered football field.

MORGANTOWN

All’s fine with WVU mascot: West Virginia University mascot Jonathan Kimble says he has paid a $20 hunting citation and says he wants to put the controversy in the past.

Kimble was cited by the Division of Natural Resources for failure to wear blaze orange when he killed a black bear in Pendleton County on Dec. 3 with the musket that’s part of his football costume.

The musket fires only gunpowder at WVU events, but is capable of firing ammunition, too.

Kimble said he paid the fine last week. His kill was legal but sparked an outcry after Kimble posted a video online.

Kimble has agreed to stop hunting with the musket.

Fewer bankruptcies: Bankruptcy filings in Northern West Virginia are down 20 percent from 2011.

Court records show 1,647 cases were filed in the Northern District of West Virginia Bankruptcy Court through November. During the same period in 2011, 2,080 cases were filed.

Bankruptcy lawyer John Brooks says he doesn’t believe there’s a correlation between the economy’s state and the decline in bankruptcy filings. He says many of the cases he sees involve people who have large medical bills, not credit card debt.

WESTOVER

Police chief exits: A Monongalia County police chief has retired.

Chief James Smith of the Westover Police Department held a retirement celebration Dec. 28. He spent nearly 21 years on the force – the last 14 as chief.

Smith still plans to be involved in Monongalia County. He said he has accepted a position as deputy director of the Monongalia Emergency Centralized Communications Agency.

Following Smith’s departure, Lt. Allison Livengood will act as chief. Smith said Livengood will become the first female chief of police in Monongalia County.

FRENCH CREEK

Aid for parents revived: A French Creek woman and her grandson are reviving the Parents of Murdered Children’s chapter in north-central West Virginia.

Betty Sargent, whose daughter, Sandy, was murdered in 1991, said she wants to help other parents who have lost children this way.

Robert Sargent, her daughter’s son, is a co-leader of the group. He says there’s never closure to such a loss, but insists that the group can provide valuable support.

KINGWOOD

Storm cleanup’s big price tag: Preston County spent more than $100,000 in the wake of Superstorm Sandy to clean up debris, run generators at some polling places and pay overtime for dispatchers and other workers.

County Administrator Kathy Mace says the county will seek reimbursements for the expenses from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

County Clerk Linda Huggins says the county spent more than $89,000 to hire local contractors who removed tree limbs from main roads.

GREENWOOD

Prison guard arrested: A former West Virginia corrections officer has been arrested for becoming sexually involved with an inmate.

West Virginia State Police arrested 19-year-old Jerrel Jones Dec. 28. He faces six counts of imposition of sexual acts on a person incarcerated or under supervision.

State police say Jones was a corrections officer at the North Central Regional Jail and his sexual involvement was with a female inmate while he was employed there.

BECKLEY

More flu: Some West Virginia health care providers here say they’re seeing patients being infected with the flu earlier than usual.

Officials at Raleigh General Hospital report 75 positive flu screens since Dec. 20 as well as another 25 before that.

At Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital, 20 confirmed cases of the flu have been reported in the past week.

Health care providers say they typically don’t see this many cases until January.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a flu vaccine as well as taking preventative measures to stop the spread of germs.

– Compiled by Christine Miller Ford, with information from The Associated Press

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