UPDATE 9/3/12 @ 9:15 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Nearly a week after the shootings near Clay, W.Va., Roane County Sheriff's Deputy John Westfall has been released from the hospital.
He was released from CAMC General in Charleston.
Westfall was shot several times this past Tuesday after he chased the gunman down near a park and ride along Interstate 79 at the Clay/Roane county line. The deadly incident claimed the lives of two West Virginia State Police officers.
Investigators say Westfall was wearing his bulletproof vest, and that's probably what saved his life.
Westfall works double duty as a deputy in Roane County and as a town police officer in Spencer, W.Va.
What kept those injuries from being even more serious is that he was wearing a bulletproof vest. That's something everyone in Roane County is thankful for.
There was a massive outpouring of support for Westfall, both in Roane County and at CAMC General in Charleston, where Roane County Prosecutor John Downey says Westfall is in stable condition.
In the small, close-knit town of Spencer, everyone is talking about what happened along Interstate 79. At Gary’s Sporting and Pawn, owner Gary Alvis says everyone who comes in is concerned.
“Been a lot of questions and stuff asked about it,” Alvis said. “You know, it's kinda sad something like that happens in this area.”
Alvis and so many others have known Westfall for years.
“They're good people,“ Alvis said.
“He's a Roane County boy,” Downey said, “so we all know him.”
Downey says the shooting came as a shock to the whole community.
“You always hear in these rural counties that it's never gonna happen here,” Downey said. “It's not gonna happen to us. And fortunately, 99 percent of the time, it doesn't happen to us. But it just goes to show every day when these guys get up and go to work what they're putting themselves through.”
And now that this dangerous reality has hit home: They'll join forces in support.
“It's just something you get and one of the reasons why we all live in a community like this,” Downey said.
“In this town if something happens, everybody pitches in,” Alvis said.
Already realizing, in so many ways, things may never be quite the same.
“It'll be something that'll stay with you for the rest of your life, really,” Alvis said.
Not only is Westfall a full time Sheriff's Deputy, he also works full time for the City of Spencer Police Department. He's on duty 70 to 80 hours a week. As you can imagine, everyone describes him as tremendously hard working.
So far, there's no word on how long it will be until he can get back in uniform.
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