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Neighbors Blame Drugs For Pair Of Deadly Huntington Shootings

Reported by: Send eMail Katelyn Sykes
Videographer: Dan Matics, Sean Morrison
Also Contributing: Dan Matics, Martin Hicks
Reported: Jun. 23, 2014 10:35 PM EDT
Updated: Jun. 24, 2014 1:17 PM EDT

Deadly Shootings
Eyewitness News Photo

Huntington , Cabell County , West Virginia

People living in one neighborhood where a deadly shooting took the life of a recent high school graduate are blaming drugs for the crime.

"Sounded like fireworks," neighbor Michael Hinson said. "Maybe one or two pops. (I thought) all right. No big deal. Hear that all the time."

But soon Hinson realized those pops weren't fireworks. Instead they were gunshots. Someone shot Garrett Hatten, 19, outside of his Jackson Avenue home in the chest. He died at the scene.

Neighbor Brandon Zickefoose said "it's very shocking to say the least. It makes me feel a bit unsafe. It makes me consider moving out of the neighborhood definitely."

Huntington police said the suspect in this case left the scene in a maroon sport utility vehicle.

Neighbors who spoke to Eyewitness News said Hatten had just graduated from Huntington High School and had a bright future ahead of him. They remembered him as caring and kind. A family member told Eyewitness News that they believe the fight was over a $28 debt.

About an hour and 15 minutes before this shooting, Huntington police were on the scene of a fatal shooting on Eight Avenue. Eugene Walmsley, 33, was found laying in the grass, dead from an apparent gunshot wound.

People living in the area are blaming this violence on drugs.

"Get rid of all of the drugs and a lot of these problems will go away," Hinson said. "That's it in a nutshell."

Police said these shootings are not connected, and they have also not commented on a motive.

No one has been arrested.

Huntington police have identified the victim in the Eighth Avenue shooting as a Michigan man.

Eugene Walmsley, 33, was killed in the shooting that took place about 9:45 p.m. Monday in a grassy area in the 1300 block of Eighth Avenue, police said.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated fatal shooting at 11:15 p.m. Monday police said Garrett Ray Hatten, 19, of Huntington died of a gunshot wound to his chest. Witnesses said that a fight broke out at Hatten's home at 1005 Jackson Ave. just before the shooting.

Huntington police are investigating two unrelated fatal shootings.

In the first shooting, police are searching for the person responsible for a deadly shooting that happened about 9:45 p.m. Monday in a grassy area in the 1300 block of Eighth Avenue. Police said that a middle-aged black man was shot in the face and killed. They have not released the victim's identity.

Ohio State Highway Patrol officers pulled over a suspect vehicle after that shooting. They took two people into custody for questioning.
Right now police are treating those people as persons of interest.

Meanwhile, Huntington police are investigating a second deadly shooting that occurred about 11:15 p.m. Monday on the city's West End.

Police said Garrett Ray Hatten, 19, of Huntington died of a gunshot wound to his chest. Witnesses said that a fight broke out at Hatten's home at 1005 Jackson Ave. just before the shooting.

Police have some leads to the identity of the shooter. They are not releasing a name but said that he is a white man with medium skin tone. He is 5 feet 7 inches tall with a medium build. He fled in a Maroon sport utility vehicle with another man.

Anyone with information about these shootings should call the Huntington Police Department at 304-696-4444.

Police are on the scene of a deadly shooting in downtown Huntington. It happened about 9:45 p.m. Monday night on Eighth Avenue and 13th Street.

Not many details are available right now, but Huntington police said that one man has been shot in the face and is dead. Police are in the process of interviewing witnesses on scene. Eyewitness News will bring you more information as it become available.

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