Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum died Wednesday after being shot outside the county courthouse in Williamson, W.Va.
The Coal Valley News reports that the suspected shooter "drove up to a parking lot on 3rd Avenue, exited his vehicle, walked to Crum's SUV, and shot him point blank."
Crum enjoyed eating lunch at the same location every day, Mingo County assistant prosecutor Justin Marcum told The Charleston Daily Mail. At his preferred lunch spot Crum "could see a pill mill that had been shut down," which he feared might be preparing to reopen, The Daily Mail reports.
The so-called "pill mill" that Crum was observing might have been the nearby Mountain Medical Care Center, which was shut down in March 2010 for selling prescriptions to drug users. WSAZ reported last month that the manager of the clinic pleaded guilty to criminal charges on March 19 and agreed to forfeit $475,000 in proceeds.
WOAY TV reports that West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin was informed by state police that the suspect in Crum's murder was shot and taken to a local hospital for treatment, citing the governor's chief of staff.
The sheriff only held his position since January, according to news reports. In late January, Crum was praised for his oversight of an anti-drug program called “Operation Zero Tolerance” that yielded 52 indictments in three days, according to a WOWK report. "Eugene Crum has exceeded my highest expectations as Mingo County Drug Enforcement Investigator [August 2012 - December 2012] and now as Mingo County Sheriff," said prosecutor C. Michael Sparks in a press release.
Mingo County is located in the extreme southwest of the state and has a population of just over 25,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The county's website says coal is "our past, present and future."
Crum's murder is the latest in a string of attacks on law enforcement officers nationwide. In Kaufman County, Texas, District Attorney Mike McLelland was killed over the weekend, two months after his deputy was also killed. Last month Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements was shot dead at his home.
Update (4:45 p.m.): WSAZ reports that West Virginia State Police have identified the suspect as 37-year-old Tennis Melvin Maynard. A witness reported seeing Maynard flee the crime scene and he was shot by a police officer after crashing a truck he was driving.