CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — What started like any traffic stop in Charleston Tuesday quickly escalated into three different pursuits and shots fired.
Charleston Police say three of the four suspects in a tagless, silver Explorer that was stopped around 2:30 p.m. on Court Street: Joseph Larch, James Evans, and Brandon Bandy have a criminal history with the Charleston Police Department.
Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt says when an active warrant was found on one of them, Larch took off running and then fired at the officer who was gaining ground on him.
Police bodycam footage shows the moment the officer fired back at Larch hitting him in the shoulder.
“If that don’t make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck I don’t know what will, that’s as scary as it gets for a police officer,” said Chief Hunt.
Larch then ran into the Habitat for Humanity Restore store where he was handcuffed.
Andrew Blackwood, executive director for Habitat for Humanity says the incident forced them to close for the day.
“We’d like to emphasize that this shooting occurred off of our property and at no time were any of our staff in danger,” said Blackwood.
Meanwhile, James Evans sped off in the vehicle, leading police on a chase that ended in him crashing the Explorer.
Bandy then fled on foot with one handcuff on and remained at large until shortly before 7 p.m. when Kanawha County Sheriff’s deputies located him near the Jordan Creek area.
“Thank the good Lord no police officers were injured when this occurred and the only injuries that were created to any offender was created by their own action,” said Hunt.
The fourth person in the vehicle was compliant with police officers during the traffic stop.
Larch was taken to the hospital to get treated for his gunshot wound.