Community mourns loss of Mingo Co. Sheriff Eugene Crum - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Community mourns loss of Mingo Co. Sheriff Eugene Crum

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Raw emotion pulsed through Williamson as a community mourned the death of its protector, Sheriff Eugene Crum.

Dozens of Mingo County residents gathered in downtown Williamson on Wednesday afternoon as city and law enforcement officials prayed for the slain sheriff, his family, and his people.

Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum, 59, was murdered in downtown Williamson on Wednesday afternoon, according to law enforcement officials.

"It's with a heavy heart we come to you, Lord, asking for strength, asking for understanding," said Mingo County Commissioner Greg Smith, leading a benediction.

Crum was eating lunch in his cruiser at the corner of Third and Harvey Streets when police said a man shot him four times, then ran away from the scene.

(For more information surrounding the tragic death of Sheriff Eugene Crum, click here.)

State Police identified the suspect as Tennis Maynard, 37, of Delbarton. Police pursued Maynard in a car chase on Route 52 towards Delbarton when the suspect crashed into a bridge. That's when authorities said Maynard stepped out of the vehicle with a gun. Deputies shot Maynard, then took him into custody.

Maynard is receiving treatment for his wounds at Cabell-Huntington Hospital.

Some observers said they can't believe a crime like this happened in a town like Williamson.

"To me, it's shocking because you don't hear that big stuff happening around here," said Austin Dotson, a student at Mingo Central Consolidated High School.

But others said they're even more shocked it happened to a man like Sheriff Eugene Crum.

"He was the greatest guy in the world," said Calvin Munch, a friend of the sheriff. "He was the sheriff for the team, for team Mingo."

Crum devoted his life to serving Mingo County. For years he was the chief of the Delbarton Police Department, then served as Chief Magistrate for Mingo County before becoming Mingo County Sheriff in 2013.

People said in three months, he turned the county around. The late sheriff became notorious for cracking down on illegal drug abuse.

"If someone is mad because he's doing his job, that's what he did," said Rick Wilkerson, Crum's longtime friend. "He got the drugs out of his town."

Now, Crum's everyday lunch spot has transformed into a memorial for the man who fought for Mingo.

"Mingo County's gonna step up," said Renee Williamson, who looked up to Crum as a child. "And they're going to keep the sheriff's legacy going."

Williamson Police Chief Dave Rockel will take over Crum's responsibilities until the county commission chooses a new sheriff, according to Mingo County Emergency Services Director Jarod Fletcher.

A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday at the Mingo County Courthouse.

Authorities have yet to name a motive in this murder.