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Police identify man charged with murder, attacking officer in West Va.

(WHSV)
Published: Feb. 11, 2020 at 4:13 PM EST
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UPDATE (Feb. 12):

Police have identified the West Virginia man charged in a violent crime spree that ended when he was shot after hitting an officer with an iron, authorities said Wednesday.

Joshua Andrew Drennen, 27, has been charged with murder, robbery, attempted murder and malicious wounding following the melee Tuesday in Charleston.

The Clendenin man is accused of killing an elderly woman in her home, carjacking a vehicle from a woman in a Walgreens parking lot, trying to steal another car and then attacking an officer with an antique iron before the officer shot him, according to the Charleston Police Department.

Police said the patrolman, Terrence Casto, was not seriously hurt and was discharged from a hospital shortly after the attack Tuesday. Drennen was still hospitalized Wednesday. A court clerk said he has not yet hired a lawyer.

The deceased female victim was identified as 77-year-old Barbara Steele. Authorities said she died of blunt force trauma to the head. The woman who was carjacked also had blunt force trauma to the head and was hospitalized.

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A man in West Virginia is suspected of killing a woman, stealing a car and beating a police officer with a metal object before the suspect was shot Tuesday, police said.

Charleston police officer Austin Casto was not seriously hurt and was at home with his family, while the suspect underwent surgery successfully at a Charleston hospital, Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt said.

The suspect's name and condition were not released and no charges were immediately filed as investigators continued piecing the cases together. Hunt said at a news conference he expects the suspect will be charged with first-degree murder, among other charges.

“We feel confident that the perpetrator of, I believe, all these crimes ... was the same individual,” Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford said.

Rutherford said after the woman's body was found at a Charleston home, the suspect was involved in a carjacking, a car accident and another attempted carjacking. Witnesses followed him to a gas station. As soon as Casto arrived, the suspect hit him in the head with an antique metal iron he found on the ground before being shot.

Police say the officer fired two shots at the suspect while being hit with the iron.

The sheriff's office is investigating the shooting and Charleston police are handling the woman's death and car incidents. The woman's name and details of her death were not immediately released.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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