(01/25/2010)
By Bob Weaver

The sequence of events related to an alleged attack on a state policeman and his shooting the woman is becoming more clear, although public information is scarce.

Criminal charges have been filed against Wirt County resident Glenna Jean Westfall, 39, following an incident where state policeman Sgt. A. D. Nichols shot her twice, saying the woman came at him with a sword.

Sgt. Nichols was apparently responding to a 911 call from the woman, entering her mobile home in Elizabeth when the shooting occurred.

Westfall, a client of Westbrook mental health services, has a long history of mental and addiction problems, and is well-known to community responders related to suicide threats and behavioral problems.

Responders had gone to the Rt. 5 bridge in Elizabeth a week before the shooting after the woman was allegedly threatening suicide.

Westfall has been released from a Morgantown hospital, where she had been listed in critical condition from the gunshot wounds.

The criminal complaint says Westfall is charged with "unlawfully attempting to commit a violent injury to the person of a government representative..."

The criminal complaint says "upon him beginning to enter the door, she grabbed a large dagger/sword and came at him."

"She was within several feet at this time and he was afraid she was going to kill or seriously injure him," according to the complaint.

The complaint further says a 911 call made by the woman, says "that she was going to kill any police officer that arrived."

Wood-Wirt's 911 Center has confirmed at least two calls were received on December 20, the first around 10 p.m. when a WV State policeman, likely Sgt. Nichols, advised 911 he was responding to a reported suicide attempt.

The nature and origin of a second call at 11:09 p.m. has been denied by both Wood and Wirt County prosecuting attorneys following a Freedom of Information request from the Herald.

The Herald was attempting to confirm if the 11:09 call to 911 was actually made by Westfall, and to confirm the nature of that call and who responded.

Wirt prosecutor Leslie Maze says the request is denied because the "911 call involves a pending investigation and prosecution of charges ..."

Kathy Tucker, Asst. Director of Central Telecommunications Center in Parkersburg, denied a Freedom of Information request for run sheets and recordings of the incident, saying the Asst. Wood County Prosecutor Sean Francisco said under WV Code the matters are part of an ongoing criminal investigation and can not be released.

Sgt. Michael Baylous, a spokesperson for the WV State Police, told state media Sgt. Nichols was responding to a 911 call made by Westfall.

Wirt County residents have expressed mixed reactions to the situation, some calling Westfall "a crazy" on the Facebook site of a former Wirt official, saying the officer did what he had to do.

Others complained the mental health system is not responsive in helping the chronically mentally ill in rural communities.

See related story WIRT WOMAN SHOT BY OFFICER REMAINS ON LIFE SUPPORT - Westfall Had Long History Of Problems


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