SPENCER, W.Va. - About 30 people gathered outside the Roane County Courthouse to offer a prayer for Roane County Deputy John Westfall's recovery.
The quiet crowd joined hands in a circle at noon Wednesday under U.S. and West Virginia flags that hung at half-staff.
Many then surrounded the deputy's mother, Candace Westfall, to offer their best wishes.
Deputy Westfall is recovering from wounds sustained when he was shot three times by a man identified as Luke Baber of Oak Hill.
"We're so thankful that he's going to recover," Candace said about her son.
Westfall was shot when he rushed to help two West Virginia State Police troopers who already had been shot by Baber. The shooting occurred just off the Wallback exit on Intestate 79.
One trooper, Cpl. Marshall Bailey, was killed, and another, Trooper Eric Workman, was critically wounded.
Westfall, 43, who resides outside Spencer, was shot in the wrist, shoulder and lower torso, said Roane County Prosecuting Attorney Josh Downey.
Body armor kept the bullet that struck him near his stomach from penetrating, Downey said.
"It probably saved his life," he said.
His mother and other family members spent the night and early morning hours at Charleston Area Medical Center's General Hospital. The deputy was doing well as he went into surgery, she said.
"But right now he's in and out of consciousness," she said.
Candace, 67, who also resides outside Spencer, said her son takes his job very seriously and often worked 80 hours a week in his positions as Roane County deputy and a Spencer city police officer.
"He's really focused on being a policeman," she said. "He loves it."
John rarely talked about the dangers he faced as a policeman, but the thought that he could be injured in the line of duty is always there.
"You know there's always that chance that they can get hurt," she said. "People are so unpredictable."
Spencer Mayor Terry Williams was sending text messages to the deputy just minutes before he was shot on an unnamed road near the Roane/Clay County line.
"He had just arrived at the scene, and I urged him to be careful," Williams said.
Williams, who has been mayor of Spencer for 37 years, has known John and his family for most of the deputy's life, he said.
Williams' wife taught John in third grade at Spencer Elementary School.
"John Westfall is a fine young man," he said.
He said John was hired as a Spencer police officer in October 2009. The Roane County Sheriff's Department hired him shortly after that, but he opted to work out his contract with the city while starting with the county.