The name of the suspect who was killed in this incident has been released. Click here for the most recent information.
WESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) – The Upshur County Chief Deputy Sheriff was shot in the leg late Thursday morning during an incident on I-79 near Weston that at one point closed all lanes of traffic on both sides of the highway.
It all started around 10:34 a.m. when someone called Lewis County 911 to report a reckless driver on northbound I-79 near the 99-mile marker according to West Virginia State Police. Then more calls came in reporting a man with a gun.
Around the same time, the Upshur County Director of Emergency Management was on I-79 when he saw the man with a gun on the freeway, shooting at random. He called and reported what he saw, and the Upshur County Sheriff‘s Office responded with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department. West Virginia State Police also responded.
Law enforcement found a man armed with a rifle, lying face down behind a silver Ford Explorer that was parked on the side, blocking both lanes of traffic. Video shared to 12 News by a viewer shows he has Pennsylvania license plates.
State police say the man fired multiple bullets at officers, and one of them shot an Upshur County deputy in the leg, whom Upshur County Sheriff Virgil Miller , identified as Upshur County Chief Deputy Sheriff Mike Coffman.
Officers returned fire, according to state police, shooting the suspect, who died at the scene. As of now, law enforcement has yet to release his name, or what they believe to be his motive.
Upshur County Sheriff Virgil Miller told 12 News that Coffman was taken to Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital where he underwent surgery. He is expected to make a full recovery.
There were several civilian vehicles on I-79 when the incident occurred. Law enforcement initially had to shut down I-79 in both directions for about an hour. Traffic was diverted onto US Route 19.
Then, southbound I-79 was able to reopen, but northbound I-79 remained closed for several more hours while crime scene crews and technicians, including a helicopter, investigated.
Officers then directed drivers who were stuck on the north side of I-79 to cross the median onto I-79 south.
West Virginia State Police opened I-79 north around 4:20 p.m.
Future updates to this story will be reported on wboy.com and live on 12 News.