Woman shot to death at local Wal-Mart
Published: Monday, April 23, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2012 01:04
Local Wal-Mart shoppers were put on lockdown Saturday morning when gunfire broke out in the store’s parking lot.
Sharon Stafford, 29, of Bruceton Mills, W.Va., was shot and killed by her estranged father-in-law around 10 a.m. Saturday at the Greenbag Road Wal-Mart and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston.
The suspect, Larry Mitchell, 54, of Shinnston, W.Va., shot Stafford several times and is believed to be motivated by an ongoing family dispute.
A large group of people was found surrounding the victim upon the officers’ arrival, while another group detained Mitchell.
"Based upon the preliminary investigation, it appears that Mitchell confronted Stafford as she was pulling into the parking lot and shot her several times while she sat in her vehicle," Preston said. "Stafford exited her vehicle as Mitchell continued to fire until Stafford collapsed. Concerned citizens responded to the incident and apprehended Mitchell and held him for authorities."
Mitchell was transported by the MPD from the scene to be interviewed regarding his involvement in the incident and has been charged with murder .
He is currently being confined at the Doddridge Regional Jail.
Stafford was meeting another family member at Wal-Mart and was shot several times by Mitchell as soon as she pulled into the store’s parking lot.
Posts on Stafford’s Facebook wall made the day of her death indicate a custody battle between her and her husband, who she was in the process of divorcing, concerning their young daughter.
Morgantown Police held a press conference Saturday to address the incident.
Preston commended the brave bystanders who intervened at the scene.
"We have no reports of any other involvement other than the good citizens that responded at jeopardy to themselves," he said. "Their heroics are greatly recognized and appreciated. This is one of those cases where who knows where we’d be if they didn’t do that."
Preston said he is currently working with Harrison County law enforcement to further investigate the events leading up to the shooting.
Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call the Morgantown Police Department Detectives Unit at 304-284-7454.