A sheriff known for cracking down on the drug trade in southern West Virginia's coalfields was fatally shot at point-blank range today in the spot where he usually parked his car for lunch. The man suspected of killing him is in the hospital after being shot by a deputy. Tennis Melvin Maynard, 37, is identified as the suspected gunman in the death of Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum. The sheriff was killed just blocks from the county courthouse.
Crum led a drug task force and an initiative called Operation Zero Tolerance, making good on a campaign pledge, said local delegate Harry Keith White. "It's just a sad, sad day for Mingo County and the state of West Virginia." Though there is no indication of any direct connection, Crum's killing comes on the heels of a Texas district attorney and his wife being shot to death in their home over the weekend, and just weeks after Colorado's corrections director also was gunned down at his home.