Police Officer Shot to Death

By: By: Anna Baxter & the Associated Press
By: By: Anna Baxter & the Associated Press
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BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) - Two Beckley men have been arraigned on murder charges in the shooting of a Beckley police officer during a drug bust.

According to the criminal complaint, 41-year-old Michael Martin and 24-year-old Thomas Leftwich had arranged to sell crack cocaine to Detective Charles "Chuckie" Smith, who was working undercover.

Smith, another drug unit officer and the two suspects had reportedly arranged to meet near a South Fayette Street bar called Club Attraction early this morning.

The complaint alleges that when the 29-year-old Smith pulled out his badge, Martin ran and Leftwich shot the officer three to four times with a .357-caliber revolver. Smith was taken to Raleigh General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

He'd been shot in the torso area. While Smith owned a bulletproof vest, investigators say that to their knowledge he wasn't wearing it. Both Martin and Leftwich are being held at Southern Regional
Jail.

Smith, who grew up in Sophia, was a five-year veteran of the police department and leaves behind a wife and two-year-old daughter. The last Beckley police officer killed on duty was Sergeant David Lee Lilly, who was shot during a May 1975 traffic stop.

Tune in to NewsChannel 3 at 6pm for the latest information and reaction from other officers.


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