CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A fatal shooting in Rand left surrounding communities on edge as more than a dozen schools were closed and police embarked on a four-hour manhunt.
Harold Donovan "Don Don" Taylor, 29, was found shot to death in a crashed green Nissan Altima just before 5 a.m. Thursday in the 300 block of Emory Avenue in Rand.
The manhunt ended about 9 a.m. when Kanawha Sheriff's deputies took Tremale Leon Straughter, 29, of Bluefield Avenue into custody for questioning. He was found on Starling Drive in Rand.
Witnesses told Kanawha detectives Straughter used an AK-47 to shoot and kill Taylor. His vehicle was discovered riddled with bullet holes.
Straughter, after hours of questioning by detectives, was charged with first-degree murder.
The men, who grew up together playing football and basketball in the once close-knit community, had been friends, family members said.
"Hate to see senseless killing amongst people who grew up together, amongst friends," said Duke Jordan, Taylor's uncle. "Whatever reason it was, it wasn't good enough to take someone's life.
"You hate to see a life taken. Any life."
Jordan described his nephew as the type of person who would give the shirt off his back to help someone. Jordan grew up in Rand and said even in his day not everyone always got along.
"But they settled their differences then with fists not guns," he said. "That gun didn't kill him. The person that pulled the trigger did."
Neighbors began calling 911 about 4:30 a.m. about noises in the area. Deputies were on their way to check it out when dispatchers told them the residents were reporting multiple gunshots.
When deputies arrived, they found Taylor dead in the driver's seat of the Altima with multiple gunshot wounds and the vehicle riddled with about 25 bullet holes.
Sheriff John Rutherford said witnesses told deputies they saw a Dodge Magnum leaving the area and identified Straughter as the suspect.
"We had information immediately after the shooting, and we had a good suspect and we knew who we were looking for," Rutherford said. "As the day progressed, along with collection of evidence and further information, it led us to make an arrest with a charge of first-degree murder."
A witness told deputies Taylor and Straughter were arguing while stopped in their vehicles on Emory Avenue near the Church Drive intersection, according to a complaint filed in Kanawha Magistrate Court.
The witness said he saw Straughter stick an AK-47 out of his window and fire toward Taylor.
Another witness told detectives that Straughter drove off after shooting Taylor and then came back and fired at him again.
Taylor's vehicle then coasted down Emory Avenue to the next block and crashed.
A witness said Straughter drove around the block and to the intersection of Emory Avenue and Raven Drive, near where Taylor's vehicle crashed, and fired again.