(06/14/2012)
For the second time in two years, an Oak Hill police officer has been shot and police are looking for the shooter.

The shooting happened at 1 a.m. Wednesday when officers responded to the Maple Court Apartments, according to a news release.

Sgt. J.L. Kirk, 32, responded and started to walk around the building to investigate when he saw a man walking down the road.

The release says, Kirk drove toward the man and when he got out of his car, the man allegedly turned toward Kirk and shot him once with a small-caliber handgun.

Police say the bullet struck Kirk in the lower left portion of his abdomen, but was stopped from penetrating his skin by a bulletproof vest.

Kirk drew his handgun and returned fire, but the man fled the area on foot, according to the release.

Kirk, a 12-year veteran of the Oak Hill Police Department, was taken to a hospital, examined and released, and then joined other officers in trying to find the shooter.

The Charleston Gaazette says this is the second time in just over two years that an Oak Hill police officers "have been saved by a bulletproof vest" in the line of duty.

On March 18, 2010, Cpl. C.A. Young had stopped a Cadillac with Ohio license plates on W.Va. 16 around 4:15 a.m. when the driver shot him.

The Gazette reported at the time the driver stopped in the middle of the road, got out of his car and opened fire on Young. Young took cover and returned fire, but was struck in the chest by a bullet. Another round struck his police cruiser.

The shooter then fled, never to be identified.

Investigators previously told the Gazette they have learned "through credible sources" that the shooting was related to organized criminal activity involving the notorious Bloods and Crips street gangs. They said the suspected shooter likely returned to Columbus, Ohio.


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