By John Raby
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — One of three deputy U.S. marshals who were shot while attempting to serve an arrest warrant in West Virginia has died, and a drug suspect also was killed in the shootout, authorities said.
It happened at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday as deputy U.S. marshals approached a residence in Elkins, U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Dave Oney said.
The suspect, Charles E. Smith, 50, was wanted on charges related to possession with intent to distribute cocaine, Oney said.
"Immediately upon entry into Smith's residence, three deputy marshals were fired upon by a shotgun blast and struck," Oney said. "Deputies returned fire on Smith and he was shot dead on the scene."
The deputies were taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital. One died, another is being treated and a third was treated and released, said Oney, who didn't release their names.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John Kaull in Clarksburg signed a warrant Tuesday for the residence where Smith had been living since August 2006. According to the warrant, the deputy marshals had until March 1 to execute it.
State troopers accompanied the marshals to the residence. The FBI was called in after the shooting to assist.
Neighbor Mary Everhart said she didn't hear about the shooting until emergency vehicles arrived.
"They might have been raising hell and I didn't know about it," Everhart said. "I didn't hear a shot."
Everhart said the building where the shooting occurred is a large home that had been converted into apartments. She said she didn't know the occupants of the apartment but said she hadn't heard any commotion from there before.
"It was pretty quiet," she said.
Another neighbor, Linda Cross, who lives across the street from the shooting scene, said she "heard some thumping sounds" and went to watch.
"I didn't see anybody shot, but I heard some shots. I heard someone saying to call 911," she said.
Cross said she had spoken to the building's occupants previously but said she didn't know them well.
Elkins is 195 miles west of Washington, D.C.
According to the Washington, D.C.-based National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks police deaths, 24 law enforcement officers have been killed in 13 states so far this year, 14 of them by gunfire.
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