Rosie Crum, wife of the late Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum, has been named interim sheriff following her husband's murder.
County commissioners appointed her to the position during a special 2 p.m. meeting today.
Crum was not at a press conference where county commissioners made the announcement this afternoon. She was reportedly back in the state, however. She was reportedly visiting her adult children in Indiana Wednesday when Sheriff Crum was gunned down in his police vehicle.
Family members will attend a candlelight vigil this evening with other family members.
"We thought that was only proper. We thought that was what the community would want," Mingo County Commission President John Mark Hubbard said of the appointment.
There are no specifics on when or if a special election will be held to fill the position.
WILLIAMSON, W.Va. -- The recently elected sheriff of Mingo County was shot and killed Wednesday as he sat in a department vehicle taking his lunch break in downtown Williamson.
A suspect who fled the scene was tracked and shot several times after he got out of his vehicle with a weapon, authorities said.
The suspect was identified as Tennis Melvin Maynard, 37, said State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous.
After deputies spotted his vehicle in Delbarton and pursued him, he crashed the vehicle into a bridge before emerging with the weapon. He pointed the weapon at the deputy but had not fired when the deputy shot him, Baylous said.
State Police crime scene investigators were at the Delbarton site most of the afternoon Wednesday.
He was flown to Cabell-Huntington Hospital, where he was in police custody.
Officials and community members say Crum liked to eat lunch in his vehicle, sitting in the corner of a parking lot where he could see a shuttered "pill mill." Crum feared people were trying to restart the operation. He was in that location at the time of the shooting.
Authorities gave few details at a 6 p.m. press conference, where prayers were offered. They took no questions from reporters.
State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous said Thursday morning that it appears Maynard will survive his injuries. He remains in police custody at Cabell-Huntington Hospital.
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.Baylous said state police have warrants prepared for attempted murder of a police officer stemming from the Delbarton incident. The Williamson Police Department will be responsible for any charges related to the shooting of Crum, Baylous said.
John Mark Hubbard, Mingo County Commission president, said Crum cared so much for the county that he "literally lay down his life" for its residents.
He served in the role of sheriff for only three months and two days.
"Eugene's passion for law enforcement and Mingo County was especially evident since he took office on Jan. 1," Hubbard said. "He, his deputies and other law enforcement agencies in Mingo County have worked tirelessly to wipe out crime in our county especially targeting the drug dealers who spread the disease of addiction among our residents. These efforts have not gone unnoticed as countless residents have expressed their appreciation to him and to others for a job well done.
"We were and are proud of him and his service. To say Eugene will be missed is a vast understatement."
Crum was elected in November, after stepping down as magistrate to run. He campaigned on a pledge to rid Mingo of its problem with drugs -- especially illegal prescriptions. He took office in January and by all accounts had been fierce in his crusade.
Friends and officials described him as an advocate for the community.
"This guy would have been the best sheriff this county has ever seen," said Dallas Toler, the current magistrate. "He didn't get the chance."
Toler stepped in as magistrate when Crum left the post. He said they shared a common vision for Mingo County -- a vision of a community that wasn't ruled by the drug trade.
"I hate this," he said. "They're good people. He was just doing the right thing ... This was his lifelong dream."
Sitting in his truck near the scene of the crime Wednesday, just hours after the murder and minutes after the scene was cleared, Toler said he was shocked -- and afraid for himself.
Toler has received anonymous death threats in recent weeks. He suspected Crum and other officials had, too. He didn't tell his wife, Dollie, at first, but had pushed her to take precautions like getting a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
"Now I know why," Dollie said. "This is a nightmare."
Jerry Mounts, Williamson fire chief, had been friends with Crum for nearly 40 years. He and his wife supported Crum in the election, going to different rallies and events for him.
"We probably live about a quarter mile from the scene," Mounts said. "She walked all the way over there to it. She was hysterical. Our oldest son Michael, who's a firefighter for me, had to go over there and make her leave the scene."
He said the sheriff was a good and honest man who kept his word. Mounts' youngest son, Max, is a Mingo sheriff's deputy and was close to Crum. He was off duty at the time but was called in to work after the shooting.
He said Max was "numb" like the rest of their family and the community after the shooting. He said those at the fire department were praying for Crum's family and his law enforcement family.
Across Williamson, people said they were shocked and frightened by the brazenness of the murder.
"My kids are afraid now," said Jerry Cline, a Williamson resident. "They're saying that if they can take a sheriff's life in the middle of the day, what makes you think they can't take ours."
Cline met Crum when he was a magistrate and had known him peripherally for nearly a decade. His daughters are working toward their GED certificates and take classes in the courthouse -- they saw Crum regularly and spoke of him fondly.
"He was just a good person. He cared about the people and he cared about the community," Cline said Wednesday afternoon in downtown Williamson. "And he was just doing his job."
House Finance Chairman Harry Keith White, D-Mingo, heard the news when a county commissioner called him crying from the courthouse. White had known Crum for a number of years.
"Eugene was a great guy. A family guy," White said. The sheriff was married with two children. He also was a grandfather.
"I had known Eugene, we worked together on projects and different things. One of the things he had done was he put together a drug task force before he ever took office.
"He put this drug task force together with other law enforcement in the area, and they had done a lot of work and cleaning up a lot of the drug problems down there. Of course, he was sworn in Jan. 1, and to my knowledge has done a pretty good job since then."
White called Crum "a hometown guy" who lived on Pigeon Creek. He said it seemed unlikely he would have enemies in the county.
"He'd been a magistrate for several years in the magistrate system in Mingo County. So when the opportunity came where there was going to be an open seat for sheriff, he announced ... and he won," he said.
"He's got a pretty large base of support down there. Outstanding gentleman."
Delegate Justin Marcum, D-Mingo, is also the assistant prosecutor in Mingo County.
"This is -- it's devastating," he said. "As a prosecutor, I campaigned with him. I'm good friends with him outside of our professional life. As a prosecutor, as a friend, I've never seen anything like it.
"It's devastating. He was a friend of everyone in the community."
Marcum said he and Crum went door-to-door while campaigning. Crum had been a magistrate for more than a decade, he said, and at one point served as the chief of police in Delbarton.
"He was magistrate for 12 years, and his dream was to be the sheriff of Mingo County," Marcum said, his voice breaking as he spoke. "And he got it. A great man, great husband, a great father. Just a great, overall, I mean you can't beat him."
In a written statement, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said, "This is tragic and truly awful news coming out of Mingo County today. I am heartbroken for Sheriff Crum's family. Sharon and I are keeping them in our prayers today, as is all of West Virginia."
Crum's wife, Rosie, was in Indiana Wednesday, visiting their adult children, Dollie Toler said.
Cabell Sheriff Tom McComas, president of the West Virginia Sheriff's Association, said he was eating lunch with other law enforcement officers when he heard about the shooting. He said it was a shocking and brazen act.
He said the sheriffs across the state had a conference call Wednesday afternoon to catch up on the situation and discuss how to help those in Mingo County. He said he was in discussions with officials in Mingo County to determine what, if any, assistance they need.
"It is a brotherhood and we take that personally when somebody harms one of our own," McComas said.
Baylous said troopers also are in talks with Mingo officials to help out with law enforcement coverage. He said Capt. David Nelson, the troop commander in the area, spoke with detachment commanders in Logan and Williamson to determine what needed to be done for Mingo County.
"The community need not be concerned that there's not going to be police protection, West Virginia State Police and other agencies that will be assisting us will make sure that the proper police resources are out there and available," Baylous said.
Funeral services for Crum have been set for this weekend. Visitation will be held at Mingo Central High School from 4-9 p.m. Saturday, followed by a funeral service at 1 p.m. Sunday, also at Mingo Central High School.
Daily Mail Capitol reporter Dave Boucher contributed to this report.