UPDATE | Dad accused of shielding son who shot two Cabell deputies appears in court

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ONA, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 11/8/19 @ 7:50 p.m.
A man accused of helping his son the night two Cabell County Sheriff's deputies were shot and injured in the line of duty appeared in court Friday for his preliminary hearing.

Michael Lane Pinkerman, 56, of Ona, appeared in court Friday morning. He is facing two counts of accessory to commit attempted murder. Deputies say he blocked the door and tried to shield his son from officers before his son shot two deputies. (Source: WSAZ)

Michael Lane Pinkerman, 56, was in a Cabell County courtroom Friday, charged with two counts of attempt to commit first-degree murder by acting as an aider and abettor.

A magistrate judge ended up determining there was enough evidence in the case to send it to the grand jury.

According to deputies, Pinkerman Sr. tried to block them from entering his home when they showed up Oct. 30 with a search warrant, looking for his son, Michael Pinkerman II.

Several witnesses took the stand Friday during the hearing, including Deputy Nate Rogers with the sheriff's department and Cpl. Jimmy Johnston, one of the deputies injured during the shooting that Wednesday night.

Johnston testified that he and other deputies arrived at the Pinkerman's home that night along Blue Sulphur Road to execute a search warrant. Deputies were looking for Pinkerman II in connection with a stolen gun. Pinkerman II was also being investigated as the suspect in the shots fired incident at the Ona Volunteer Fire Department where at least 13 shots were fired.

Johnston was part of the special operations team sent to the home. He testified that Deputy Jared Cremeans, the other deputy shot, knocked on the door of the home and announced it was the sheriff's department with a search warrant.

Johnston testified that Cremeans knocked and announced a couple times. He said there was glass in the door the deputies could see through into the home.

He said that after the second knock on the door, an older woman appeared in the door, who he says was Laura Pinkerman.

"She was talking and I couldn't make out what she was saying on a few things but I remember her saying something in regards to you all need to leave, you need to go," Johnston said. "I asked her to open the door, and I believe other team members asked her to open the door and she failed to comply."

Johnston testified that when deputies determined she was not going to open the door for them, he used a door ram to try to force open the door.

He stated on the stand that after the second time he hit the door with the device, he could see the father of the suspect, Pinkerman Sr. appear through the glass in the door.

"He appeared to be very angry and was saying some words," Johnston said. "I couldn't tell you exactly what they were, but they were not of a nice gesture. You could tell he was visibly angry by the tone in his voice and his face."

Johnston then said he ordered Pinkerman Sr. to open the door.

"At that time, when I realized he wasn't going to comply, I hit the door again and it breached and glass shattered," said Johnston.

Johnston then said that Pinkerman Sr. came toward the door when it came open and pushed on it to try and shut it.

"At that point I noticed a subject coming from the left side of the house, which was later identified as his son, and he was coming with a purpose it appeared just the way he was walking toward us," Johnston said. "About as soon as he came into view, I hollered at the team members that we had another person approaching and just about as soon as I get that out, a firearm comes up and he starts firing upon us."

When the defense asked what happened next, Johnston responded, "I started returning fire."

Johnston was hit during the shootout in his bulletproof vest.

"I felt a horrible pain to my side area. At that point, I realized I was hit," Johnston said. "I looked to the right and I could tell Deputy Cremeans was also shot. At that point, Deputy Cremeans runs towards me and I could tell he was wounded."

Deputy Cremeans was shot four to five times. Both Johnston and Cremeans were taken to the hospital.

Laura Pinkerman, Pinkerman Sr.'s wife and Pinkerman Jr.'s mother, also took the stand to testify. Her testimony was considerable different from Johnston's.

Pinkerman testified that she and her husband were not home Wednesday afternoon when deputies first went to the Pinkerman home to talk with Pinkerman II.

She stated that she got home at about 4:15 p.m. that day and had no communication with her son -- that he was in his room the entire time.

Pinkerman claimed she made dinner and had gone to tell her husband when she noticed police outside their house.

"I told my husband something was going on," Pinkerman said. "I thought maybe it was an accident. I saw one vehicle up front and then I looked and saw another vehicle sitting to the right. I remembered seeing the man in the first car standing outside of his vehicle in a military type stance and he had an assault rifle and he was looking dead at our home. About the time I told my husband the police were out front, then I heard 'bam, bam, bam, bam, bam' on my back door of my kitchen," she said as she described deputies knocking on her door.

She testified that went she went to her door, there were five or six deputies there.

"Guns pointed at me screaming 'open the door, open the door, open the door' and that's all I heard," Pinkerman said. "My dog was there, and my first instinct was I need to put my dog up. I went to grab her and I said 'I just need to put my dog up.' As I was pulling her away from the door to our bedroom, her collar came off. I went to put it back on but before I could get it back on, they started bashing in my door and glass started flying and about that time is when my husband came into the room."

She claimed that her husband then started asking deputies why they were there.

"They wouldn't say anything. They just kept saying 'open the door, open the door,' " Pinkerman said.

However, deputies testified they announced themselves repeatedly.

Pinkerman claims her husband wasn't trying to keep deputies from getting inside, but instead was trying to open the door by twisting the door knob but couldn't get it to open.

"As my husband is trying to open the door, my son runs in and when he runs in, I can see him taking a stance," Pinkerman said. "It was that quick. My son runs in and I hear them say gun, gun and it wasn't a second later that fire, just 'pow, pow, pow, pow, pow,' " as she described hearing gunshots. "I couldn't see my son had a gun. But the stance gave me an idea."

Pinkerman II was shot and killed during the incident when deputies returned fire.

Deputy Nate Rogers testified that once the incident was over, he ordered Pinkerman Sr. to exit the home. He said when he came outside and they attempted to place him in handcuffs that he didn't comply with their commands and it took several deputies to finally get him in cuffs.

Pinkerman Sr. was also injured in the gunfire. His wife says he was complaining about an injury to his hand and that he had a wound on his side, which she described on the stand as a "graze" wound.

Despite the conflicting testimony in court Friday, the magistrate determined there was enough evidence for the grand jury to hear the case.

Pinkerman remains in jail on a $300,000 cash-only bond.

Meanwhile, Cpl. Johnston and Deputy Cremeans are still recovering from their injuries. Johnston has already returned to work, though.

Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle says Deputy Cremeans is still going through rehab, but is hoping he will be able to return to work soon.



UPDATE 11/8/19 @ 2:06 p.m.
The man accused of shielding his son during a search warrant that ended with two deputies being shot appeared in court Friday morning.

Michael Lane Pinkerman, 56, of Ona, was at the Cabell County Courthouse for his preliminary hearing. He is facing two counts of accessory to commit attempted murder.

Deputies say he blocked the door when law enforcement came looking for his son, Michael Pinkerman II.

Cabell County Sheriff's Office deputies tried to serve a search warrant at a home in Ona on Oct. 30. Deputies were looking for Pinkerman II in connection with a stolen gun. Pinkerman II was being investigated as the suspect in the shots fired at the Ona Volunteer Fire Department. At least 13 shots were fired Tuesday, damaging three fire trucks.

Sheriff Chuck Zerkle says after a struggle, Pinkerman II shot two deputies. Both survived. Deputies returned fire and killed Pinkerman II.

One of those deputies, Jimmy Johnston, took the stand Friday. He was shot twice in his bulletproof vest and was bruised from the impact of the bullets.

The other deputy, Jared Cremeans, was shot four to five times. He underwent surgery for his hand and was also released from the hospital.

Pinkerman's wife also testified.

At the end of the hearing, the case was bound over to the grand jury.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

UPDATE 11/1/19 @ 3:50 p.m.
A Cabell County Sheriff's deputy hurt in a shooting Wednesday night has been released from the hospital, Sheriff Chuck Zerkle said.

Deputy Jared Cremeans was discharged Friday from St. Mary's Medical Center.

Cremeans and fellow Deputy Jimmy Johnston were shot while trying to serve a search warrant on suspect Michael Pinkerman II. Pinkerman was killed in the exchange of gunfire at the home along Blue Sulphur Road in the Ona area.

Pinkerman's father, Michael Pinkerman, was arrested at the scene and charged with with two counts of accessory to commit attempted murder -- one count for each deputy shot. Pinkerman remains in the Western Regional Jail; his bond is $300,000 cash only.

Johnston was shot in his bulletproof vest and released Wednesday night from St. Mary's Medical Center.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/31/19 @ 7:20 p.m.
More details have been released about a man who was shot and killed by deputies, after he allegedly opened fire on them.

Michael Pinkerman II was shot and killed by deputies Wednesday night at his home along Blue Sulphur Road in Ona. Deputies say they believed Pinkerman was connected to the shots fired incident that happened at the Ona Volunteer Fire Department earlier in the week.

"Probably 10 to 13 shots were fired into the fire station, damaging and disabling two of the three trucks," said Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle. "We were working that investigation and our investigation led us to Mr. Pinkerman being a possible suspect."

According to the sheriff, Pinkerman II is a former volunteer firefighter with the department.

"We felt like anytime you have a crime or something like that happens, we always ask 'do you have any problems with anybody?' And this guy's not a member anymore so this led us to believe that," Zerkle said.

Zerkle says surveillance cameras inside the fire department showed a light-colored vehicle pull up in front of the fire station. He says that description matched the one of Pinkerman's car.

The sheriff says the ammunition retrieved from the fire station were 9 mm bullets, as were the ones in the shooting at the home in Ona.

On Wednesday afternoon, deputies went to the Pinkerman's home to talk with the family.

"They were basically told that if they didn't have a warrant, they needed to leave," Zerkle said. "We were there on a fact-finding mission just to talk to them and see if there was any possible information that could lead the investigation. They basically told us to leave."

Deputies say after that, they determined the 9 mm Pinkerman had was stolen from Arizona. Deputies later returned to the home about 6:30 p.m. with a warrant and with the SWAT team.

When deputies arrived, they say Michael Pinkerman, the suspect's father, was trying to block them from entering the home and was trying to shield his son from officers.

"I think they were thinking we were maybe coming back and were ready," Zerkle said. "They prepared and obstructed us. Upon beginning entry to the home, the son came around from behind the father and started shooting at our deputies, and our deputies returned fire," Zerkle said.

During the exchange of gunfire, Pinkerman II was killed and two deputies were injured. Pinkerman's father was also hit by the gunfire and taken to the hospital. Once he was released, he was arrested and charged with two counts of accessory to commit attempted murder -- one count for each deputy shot.

He is now being held in the Western Regional Jail on a $300,000 cash-only bail.

The sheriff says the mother and wife of the two men was also in the home, but was in another room when everything happened.

The two deputies injured were Deputy Jimmy Johnston and Deputy Jared Cremeans. Cremeans was shot four to five times. He was hit in the hand, shoulder and a bullet grazed his head.

"It's a miracle it wasn't worse," Zerkle said. "It could've been a horrible outcome. It was a good day in one sense and a bad day in another."

Cremeans underwent surgery Thursday for his hand. He is still recovering in the hospital.

Johnston was shot twice in his bullet-proof vest. The sheriff says Johnston is bruised from the impact of the bullets and is recovering at home.



UPDATE 10/31/19 @ 10:21 a.m.
The father of the suspect who was killed after shooting two sheriff's deputies in Cabell County is facing charges.

According to the criminal complaint, Michael Lane Pinkerman, 56, of Ona, is facing two counts of accessory to commit attempted murder -- one count for each deputy shot.

Pinkerman was arrested after he was discharged from the hospital. Deputies say he tried to shield his son, Michael Pinkerman II, from officers.

Cabell County Sheriff's Office deputies tried to serve a search warrant at a home in Ona Wednesday evening. Around 6:30 p.m., investigators repeatedly identified themselves outside the home in the 4300 block of Blue Sulphur Road.

The search warrant was for a stolen gun. Deputies say Pinkerman II had the gun in his possession earlier in the day.

Pinkerman II was being investigated as the suspect in the shots fired at the Ona Volunteer Fire Department. At least 13 shots were fired Tuesday, damaging three fire trucks.

When investigators arrived to execute the search warrant Wednesday, they say the suspect's father braced himself against the door. "As the deputies continued to advise the suspect to open the door, he was observed having some type of communication with his son," the criminal complaint states.

The deputies struggled to get the door open as Pinkerman blocked it.

"As the door was breached, the suspect forcibly closed the door, again, while having verbal communication with his son," deputies wrote. "As the door was forced open again, gunfire from within the residence began and two deputies were struck multiple times."

Deputy Jared Cremeans was shot three times in the hand, shoulder, and another place. He is scheduled to undergo surgery Thursday.

Deputy Jimmy Johnston was shot twice in his bulletproof vest and released from the hospital.

Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle says deputies shot and killed Pinkerman II.

The gunman's father, Pinkerman, was also shot during the incident. It's unclear how serious his injuries are.

"The suspect was still actively blocking/attempting to block entry into the residence before being forcibly removed," deputies wrote about Pinkerman in his criminal complaint. "The actions of the father, Michael Lane Pinkerman, allowed the original subject of the warrant to attempt to commit murder."

Pinkerman is in the Western Regional Jail on a $300,000 cash-only bail.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

UPDATE 10/31/19 @ 8:30 a.m.
Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle told WSAZ that the suspect in the shooting, Michael Pinkerman II, was being investigated as the suspect in the shots fired at the Ona Volunteer Fire Department.

At least 13 shots were fired Tuesday, damaging three fire trucks.

In other information released, Sheriff Zerkle said Deputy Jared Cremeans was shot at least four times.

Officials earlier said Deputy Cremeans will be undergoing surgery.

Additional information is expected to be released Thursday.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/31/19 @ 6:55 a.m.
Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle confirms to WSAZ that Deputy Jimmy Johnston, who was shot twice in his bulletproof vest, has been released from the hospital.

Deputy Jared Cremeans, who was shot three times in the hand, shoulder and another place, is set to undergo surgery Thursday.

Sheriff Zerkle said further information will be released on the investigation the deputies were working on when the shooting happened Wednesday night.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.


UPDATE 10/30/19 @ 11 p.m.
Two Cabell County sheriff's deputies were taken to the hospital Wednesday night after being shot while executing a search warrant in an incident that left the suspect dead.

Officials say one of the deputies was released late Wednesday night, and the other was expected to remain at St. Mary's Medical Center throughout the night.

It happened around 6:30 p.m. at a home along Blue Sulphur Rd. in the Ona area.

According to Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle, Deputy Jared Cremeans was shot three times in the hand, shoulder and in another place where the sheriff was not certain. Deputy Jimmy Johnston was shot twice in his bulletproof vest.

Cabell County Commissioner Kelli Sobonya said one of the deputies was undergoing surgery Wednesday night.

The suspect in the case, Michael Pinkerman, was shot by deputies and killed at the scene.

"It's one of these things we deal with it, we train for it every day," Zerkle said. "You don't want it to come to this. The best thing about today is that my guys are all still alive and they are going to go home."

The sheriff went on to say, "It was a close call. They were protected, they were trained. God was with them, and they get to go another day."

According to Zerkle, the deputies went to the home earlier in the day as Pinkerman had become a suspect in a stolen property case.

They left the home and returned with a warrant later in the evening.

Sheriff Zerkle says that when they got to the home, along with the SWAT team, there was some sort of obstruction. He said the shots were being fired as soon as the officers made their way inside the home.

According to the sheriff, the suspect's father was also shot during the incident. He was taken into custody and will face charges, possibly conspiracy, as the investigation moves ahead. Investigators will consult with the prosecutor's office about those charges.

Zerkle said more will come out at a later time about the investigation the deputies were working on.

"Keep our deputies in your thoughts and prayers," the sheriff said. We appreciate it ... When times like these happen, this is where we get our support. People rally around us, people that we don't know that support us. Support just pours out of the woodwork."

Rodney Miller, the executive director of the West Virginia Sheriff's Association, visited the wounded deputies in the hospital Wednesday night.

"I got to speak with both of them," Miller said. "Despite everything they've been through, they were both in good spirits while undergoing treatment. They're very fortunate, lucky to have had their protective gear on and things like that. They're fortunate at this point."

Officers from across the county went to the hospital Wednesday night to show their support.

"They do rally around one another and rally around the families when something tragic like this happens," Miller said. "It's one of our own, so it's the common response."

The Milton Police Department made a Facebook post asking the community for prayers and support. Scroll below to see the post.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 10/30/19
Two Cabell County Sheriff's deputies were shot Wednesday evening in the Ona area, according to West Virginia Delegate Daniel Linville.

Linville, a Republican from Cabell County, tweeted that information. According to our crew there, more than 30 law enforcement cars are lining Blue Sulphur Road near the scene.

Cabell County Commissioner Kelli Sobonya says the deputies were shot while serving a warrant. No information is available at this time about the suspect.

A law enforcement source on the scene also confirmed those reports.

According to our crew at the scene, neighbors reported hearing several gunshots. The incident was reported just before 6:30 p.m.

Additional details are unavailable, but we have a crew there working to get more information.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.


Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle speaks from the scene where two deputies were shot Wednesday night. The suspect was killed in the Ona area.