(03/03/2012)
Cpl. Douglas Starcher, long-time Calhoun trooper, now assigned to Wirt County, was honored Friday by the West Virginia State Police in South Charleston.

He received the 'Meritorious Service Medal' for protecting the lives of Wirt County citizens during a hostage situation at the Elizabeth detachment.

Starcher fatally wounded a gunman at the police barracks when he raised his weapon toward Wirt County Sheriff D.K. Wilson, said Sgt. Michael Baylous, spokesman for the West Virginia State Police.

A gunman held a UPS driver hostage during a standoff in a shopping mall parking lot in front of the State Police barracks.

"Though faced with imminent danger by approaching a man armed with a rifle who was believed to have already shot one person, Corporal Starcher acted in a manner consistent with the high standards of a West Virginia state trooper with exemplary courage without regard to his own safety, while protecting the lives of innocent victims and other officers," Baylous said.

Two other area troopers will be honored today, Cpl. Andrew Pringle, with the Harrisville detachment, will receive the Purple Heart Award and Trooper Gary Honaker, also with the Harrisville detachment, will receive the Medal for Lifesaving.

Pringle was seriously injured in August 2010 when he was struck by a drunken driver on W.Va. 47 west of Smithville while conducting a field test on a motorist.

The impact of the vehicle threw Pringle over the hood of his patrol car and into Honaker, and the two men were slammed into the pavement.

Honaker sustained a concussion in the accident, but called for help on the police radio. The trooper remained with Pringle until ambulances arrived.

"Pringle's injuries were so significant that he would not have survived without the swift, immediate medical intervention and the aid provided to him by Honaker, who acted to save and preserve Pringle's life," said Baylous.

Three other troopers will receive awards, Sgt. Christopher Kane, with the Gilbert detachment, and Sgt. Gregory Stalnaker, with the Elkins detachment, will both receive the Medal of Valor. Trooper Joseph Finnicum, with Special Operations, will receive the Meritorious Service Medal.

See related story   BREAKING NEWS: SHOOTING REPORTED IN FRONT OF STATE POLICE BARRACKS IN ELIZABETH - Hostage Taker Shot By Trooper


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