2 W.Va. deputies shot, 1 suspect dead

The suspects blocked deputies from entering home, fired at officers when SWAT team broke down the door

Anthony Izaguierre
Associated Press

ONA, W.Va. — A West Virginia man used his father as cover in a tight-quarters gunfight with police that ended with two deputies shot, charges against the dad and the son killed, authorities said Thursday.

Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle said the shootout happened Wednesday as a team of officers were attempting to serve a search warrant for a stolen gun at a home in Ona, West Virginia. As police were trying to bust down a door, the father-son team got into position.

The father, 56-year-old Michael Lane Pinkerman, braced himself against the door. His son, Michael Pinkerman II, readied the stolen 9 mm Beretta.

The door swung open. The younger Pinkerman rapidly emptied the handgun. Deputies returned fire. The father stood in the middle of the mayhem.

"It was like a knife fight in a phone booth," Zerkle said.

The aftermath: Pinkerman was dead, his father was wounded and two deputies were down.

The deputies were rushed to the hospital. Zerkle said Deputy Jim Johnston took two shots to his bulletproof vest and was released Wednesday night. Deputy Jared Cremeans was shot three times and is scheduled to have surgery on his hand but is expected to recover.

The older Pinkerman was hospitalized with minor wounds. He was then arrested and jailed for accessory to commit attempted murder. It's unclear whether Pinkerman has hired a lawyer.

In an interview, Zerkle said authorities had tried to talk with the son earlier Wednesday after someone had shot up the local fire department building, damaging some of its trucks and leaving a garage door riddled with bullet holes. Pinkerman, a former fire department employee, told them to come back with a warrant.

Kevin Conner, chief of the Ona fire station, said Pinkerman left the department within the last week but would not say what prompted his departure.

Hours later after the first visit, a team of officers returned to the Pinkerman house.

"We never dreamt it would end in that fashion," Zerkle said.

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