Principal arrested because of guns at school

by Kelly L. Holleran
Daily Mail Staff

Wirt County Middle School's principal has been placed on administrative leave and was arrested after being accused of bringing firearms to school grounds.

James Danny Hoover, Jr., 36, of Parkersburg brought two firearms to Wirt County Middle School property Oct. 8, according to a criminal complaint filed in Wirt County's magistrate court.

On the same day there was a hunting accident in Wirt County.

Chris Griffin, 18, of Mineral Wells, was shot. The bullet went through his earlobe and entered his jaw, said Lt. Tim Coleman, hunter education coordinator for West Virginia. Griffin, a senior at Parkersburg South High School and volunteer with the Washington Bottom Fire Department, was flown by helicopter to Ruby Memorial Hospital.

"Tom McCloy was the apparent shooter. I know he (Hoover) was involved in some way, but I don't know how," Coleman said.

Hoover told Superintendent Daniel C. Metz he brought the weapons to school, then left school grounds and returned with one firearm in his vehicle, according to the complaint.

Hoover was charged with two counts of unlawfully and feloniously possessing deadly weapons on educational facilities, according to the complaint.

He was arrested Monday, but released the same day when he posted a $1,000 bond, Wirt County Prosecuting Attorney Leslie Maze said.

Maze would not comment on why he brought the guns to the school.

Hoover has been placed on administrative leave, said Mike Calebaugh, a teacher at Wirt County Middle School.

Calebaugh would not comment further on the case because it is an ongoing investigation.

Repeated phone calls to Metz Tuesday and Wednesday were not returned. He was at a superintendent's conference Thursday, and no one else was available to comment on the case, according to a receptionist at the office.

Wirt County Board of Education President Jim Rader, Vice President Sheila Dye, and members Jerry Ash, Mark Lowe and Clarence Mills did not return phone calls Thursday.

No one answered repeated calls at Hoover's residence Thursday.