By Stephen Smoot
Last week, a shooting claimed the life of Joseph M. Nelson, 46, of Dry Fork. This led to a series of events that culminated in the death of the alleged suspect, Daniel Lee Sanders, 41, of Tunnelton, Preston County.
According to the Tucker County Prosecuting Office Facebook page, a call reporting a shooting came into Tucker County 911 at 10:07 p.m. on Sept. 4. The location was identified as the 9000 address area of Appalachian Highway/West Virginia Route 32.
The West Virginia State Police Parsons detachment and Tucker County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call.
Witnesses were able to provide significant detail to responding officers. As Sergeant V. J. Pyles, from the West Virginia State Police, told West Virginia Metro News, “They came upon a vehicle driving slowly, the vehicle brake-checked the victim and waved them around. When the vehicle went to pass, the vehicle sped away, then stopped at a wide spot in the road and waited for them.”
Pyles went on to say that the suspect continued harassing Nelson. He also stated that there appeared to be no personal connection between the suspect and the victim.
Finally, as Pyles stated to Metro News, “the victim stopped in the road to confront the driver and exited the vehicle.” Sanders remained in his truck and fired one shot from the cab. Pyles, as described in a West Virginia State Police release, responded quickly and tried to administer first aid, including CPR. According to the Tucker County Prosecutor’s Facebook page, the victim “succumbed to his injuries” on the scene.
Witnesses gave law enforcement a description of the suspect’s truck, which included after market modifications on his bumpers. The Tucker County Prosecutor’s Facebook page indicated that on Sept 5, a relative of the suspect Sanders provided information as to the alleged shooter’s identity. Using GPS phone information, law enforcement ascertained that Sanders had been at the scene of the incident.
Based on the information gathered on Sept. 4 and 5, the Tucker County Magistrate Court issued a warrant for the arrest of the alleged shooter, charging Sanders with second degree murder. The suspect had, by now, turned off his phone, preventing direct tracking of him. Law enforcement officers, however, received information that placed the suspect at a campground described as an “alternative residence” near Seneca Rocks.
The West Virginia State Police Pendleton County detachment and Special Response team, backed by the Pendleton County Sheriff’s Office, responded in an attempt to negotiate his arrest.
As the West Virginia State Police release stated, “Shortly after arrival and before entry could be made, the suspect barricaded himself inside the residence. Units on scene heard a gunshot from inside the residence.” They determined that he likely died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. State Police then activated the “Troop 2” crime scene unit to gather additional information.
The investigation remains active.