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Mingo sheriff's widow will fill position

WILLIAMSON -- Rosie Crum, the wife of murdered Sheriff Eugene Crum, will fill his position until an election can be held. 

Mingo County commissioners met in an emergency session Thursday afternoon and appointed her to the post. John Mark Hubbard, county commission president, said it was "only proper."

The community is still reeling from the brazen murder: Crum was apparently eating his lunch in a parking lot in downtown Williamson Wednesday when he was killed. Officials believe the suspect, Tennis Maynard, approached the vehicle and shot Crum twice before fleeing in his vehicle.

A deputy sheriff followed Maynard to Delbarton, eight miles way, where he crashed into a bridge. When he and exited his vehicle with a weapon. Officers shot and wounded him there. He remains in critical but stable condition at Cabell Huntington Hospital and is expected to survive.

Officers recovered a weapon from Maynard -- a .40 caliber Glock pistol -- when he was shot by officers and arrested. They believe that was the weapon he used when he allegedly shot Crum, but aren't sure where he bought it or whether he owned it legally.

Officials aren't addressing possible motives. At a press briefing Thursday, Williamson Police Chief Dave Rockel said officials "want to let all the collective evidence point to what the motive was."

State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous said police were "familiar with" Maynard and had responded to instances he was involved in, but wouldn't comment on specifics.

Officials are prepared to charge Maynard with first-degree murder when he leaves the hospital. State Police have prepared warrants for attempted murder of a police officer, for his approach in Delbarton.

Crum is being mourned as a new sheriff intent on running the illegal drug trade out of town. He campaigned for sheriff on that platform in November.

By Thursday afternoon, a makeshift memorial had materialized in the parking spot where Crum was killed, in downtown Williamson. Jennifer Endicott was there that afternoon with her children and niece, using a helium tank to inflate balloons for the sign.

"We did black and grey because that's for the police," said her 10-year-old son, Jared Johnson. "And the blue is for Mingo Central (High School)."

They wrote RIP on the balloons with markers and put them next to the flowers and wreaths, and one American flag. 

Endicott had known Crum since he first became magistrate a decade ago, and said she voted for him when he ran for sheriff.

"I thought he could get the job done," she said. "And he understood what was really going on in the community."

Terry Sanders, a magistrate clerk in Mingo County, worked with Crum during his time as magistrate. He was at a press conference at the county courthouse in Williamson on Thursday afternoon, waiting for an update on the case.

This was the second such briefing since the murder Wednesday. The event was attended by about 100 people -- twice as many community members as reporters.

"Everybody woke up today and still couldn't believe it," Sanders said. "They're still trying to let it sink in that this is really happening here."

Sanders said the brazen murder came as a shock in the small community, though he also said that that community is rough around some of its edges. The region has been notoriously plagued with an illegal drug problem -- especially illegal prescriptions -- for years.

"His whole campaign for sheriff was about eliminating that," said Delegate Justin Marcum, D-Mingo, who is also the assistant prosecutor in Mingo County. "And his investigations were thorough, better than anything else I've seen."

Crum had a background in law enforcement -- he was the chief of the police department in Delbarton before becoming magistrate and an officer in Matewan before that.

Officials and friends have repeatedly said in recent days that Crum was the only sheriff in recent memory who had a background in law enforcement; the job usually goes to a politician-type.

"We will get to the bottom of this," Marcum said. "We need to get to the root of this problem in Mingo county ... It's not something he should die in vain for."

Writers Ashley B. Craig and Paul Fallon contributed to this report.

Contact writer Shay Maunz at shay.maunz@dailymail.com or 304-348-4886.


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