POINT PLEASANT — Officers who were completing weapons qualifications on a gun range ended up dodging bullets on Thursday night.
Several officers with the Point Pleasant Police Department were at a shooting range on Jericho Rd. around 10 p.m. Thursday conducting semi-annual firearms qualifications. During these qualifications, shots began to be fired into the shooting range with officers ducking for cover.
Eventually, personnel with the PPPD as well as the Mason County Sheriff’s Department and West Virginia State Police, determined the shots were allegedly coming from a residence at 5428 Jericho Rd., according to the criminal complaint. A female at the residence permitted law enforcement to enter the home where officers observed a shotgun and a box of shotgun shells in the kitchen area.
Eventually officers made contact with a male inside the home, Richard A. Thomas, 58, Point Pleasant. The criminal complaint states Thomas “stated in excited utterance that there were people at the gun range shooting so he shot back from the back porch to let them know he had a gun.” Officers reportedly then placed Thomas under arrest and eventually found 10 spent 20 gauge shotgun shells on the back porch.
Though no one was injured, one of the officer’s personal vehicles was damaged with this personal vehicle being in the vicinity where the officers took cover. According to the complaint, Thomas went on to tell law enforcement he shot his shotgun because he thought kids were shooting at the gun range and he wanted them to know he had a gun.
Thomas is charged with 90 counts of wanton endangerment based on evidence collected, statements and the number of officers being shot at. He appeared before Magistrate Gail Roush on Friday afternoon who set his bail at $500,000. He was transported and remains in the Western Regional Jail.