The Clarksburg community is stunned and saddened by the murder of two innocent bystanders, allegedly by a drug dealer.
Police have charged Sidney Muller, 27, with killing Freddy Swiger, 70 and his 47-year-old son, Fred. They were shot execution-style in the street in front of a house on Locust Avenue known for drug dealing.
Muller is accused of killing the Swigers after leaving the house, where it's believed he killed two other men, Christopher Hart, 26 and Todd Amos, 29. Authorities say Muller had gone to the house to collect a $10,000 drug debt.
The deaths of Hart and Amos are a tragedy, and a graphic reminder that drug dealing is a dangerous business where violence is an inherent risk.
The murder of the Swigers, however, is an absolute injustice.
A number of people have said, myself included, that the Swigers were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But upon reflection, the opposite is true.
The father and son newspaper delivery team was in the right place, doing what they were supposed to do - deliver the Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram to subscribers on Locust Avenue.
And they were there at the right time. The men and women who deliver newspapers are up well before dawn to ensure that when customers wake up, the paper is already on the doorstep.
No, it's the drug-addled miscreants who are out of sync. They are the ones who don't belong on our streets at 4:30 in the morning, violently settling drug debts and rotting our communities from within.
Harrison County Prosecutor Joe Shaffer reflected Friday on how Locust Avenue was once a safe, friendly, working-class part of town.