(08/17/2010)
By Bob Weaver

State Police are looking into a motive that drove Joseph Dennis Harrison, 45, of Elizabeth to hijack a UPS truck and have its' driver go to the State Police barracks in Elizabeth, where Harrison shot into the building and expelled other rounds before he was shot and killed by a state trooper.

Witnesses inside a barber shop told the Charleston Gazette, Harrison aimed at the state trooper and a member of the Wirt County Sheriff's Department.

Details Wirt County gunman aimed at police, witnesses say

Mike Baylous, the State Police spokesperson, said the UPS driver was able to get away before police arrived on the scene.

The UPS driver was a one-day replacement for well-known UPS driver and musician Johnny Staats, who took the day off to go to a medical appointment.

Harrison apparently encountered the UPS driver making his rounds, when he forced him to drive to the barracks.

A Calhoun woman who was in Elizabeth at the time of the incident, said the UPS truck passed her car, blowing his horn to get the right-of-way. "I thought, is this guy crazy," she said.

Neighbors on Deaver's Fork, where Harrison lived, told the Herald they did not know him as a troublemaker, indicating he had been in the community less than two years. He was a longtime resident of Garden City, Michigan, where police indicated he did not have arrests.

Employees at an Elizabeth agency said Harrison had been to their office a few days before to conduct business and appeared cordial.

State Police have not released the name of the trooper who shot Harrison. Baylous said the release of trooper's name is delayed to allowed the officer to "decompress."

See related story STATE POLICE SAY MOTIVE FOR ELIZABETH SHOOTING NOT ESTABLISHED - Gunman's Name Released


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