EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSSOUTH CHARLESTON SHOOTING
from Eyewitness News Online
Investigation Underway Into "Suicide By Police," Family Supports Actions Of Officers
Reported by: Atish Baidya
Web Producer: Atish Baidya
Also Contributing: Kallie Cart
Reported: Jan. 17, 2012 3:39 AM EST
Updated: Jan. 17, 2012 6:31 PM EST
South Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
An investigation is underway in Kanawha County after a deadly police involved shooting. Early Tuesday morning two South Charleston officers shot and killed a suspect. The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office has now taken over the investigation. They and the prosecutor say it appears the officers had no choice but to shoot the man, and his son agrees.
A church parking lot is where a wild night for police and a man named Tommy Ransbottom, II came to an end. Ransbottom, 40-years-old and from Cross Lanes, was killed in what authorities are calling a suicide by police.
"He openly indicated to his father and his sister both that he intended for police to kill him," Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford says.
The problems started on Pike Street in South Charleston. Police say 911 was called because Ransbottom was making threats and he had a gun. Then they say he went to his home on West Washington Street in Cross Lanes, started a fight with family, fired seven shots into the air and took off.
South Charleston police then spotted his car, started following and came to a standoff with Ransbottom in the parking lot of the Rock Lake Presbyterian Church.
Throughout the whole ordeal, investigators say Ransbottom was on the phone with various family members.
"His sister overheard the officers tell him to drop the gun and surrender, she in turn told him to drop the gun and surrender," Sheriff Rutherford says.
Police say he got out of his car twice, pretending to have a gun. But the third time police say he did have a gun, which was loaded. He aimed it at officers in front of him but investigators say because of the lights those officers couldn't tell if Ransbottoms actually had a weapon. Investigators say two officers on the side could see clearly that he was armed and aiming it at officers, so they shot four times, hitting Ransbottom twice. He died on the scene.
"In my opinion, the officers involved in this showed immense restraint," Sheriff Rutherford says.
In a statement, Ransbottom's son Nicholas told Eyewitness News, "The police did the right thing. It was definitely self defense."
The two officers who shot Ransbottom are on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure. Their names have not been released. South Charleston police are holding a news conference tomorrow to release more details.
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