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Bond modified for man who had shotgun at high school

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A circuit judge has agreed to modify the bond for a man who was running around a county high school waving a gun in November.

A Kanawha Grand Jury is considering the case of Russell Elswick, 52, of Clendenin, this week. He has been held since his arrest on a $30,000 cash-only bond.

Circuit Judge Carrie Webster said she would permit Elswick to post a $30,000 property bond or 10 percent cash. She ordered that if released from jail, he have no access to guns and not be  permitted on any county school property.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 14, Elswick was spotted by a custodian at Herbert Hoover High School brandishing a shotgun. There were no students at the school yet, but Elswick told the custodian "he had business to take care of."

The school was placed on lockdown and buses were not permitted to arrive at the facility until it was secured.

When police arrived, Elswick was in his vehicle. When ordered to get out, he left the car in drive and it struck one of the officers. Inside the car was a shotgun and several rounds of ammunition, according to the criminal complaint.

William King, Elswick's attorney, told Webster the man had a history of drug problems and had been seriously injured in an ATV accident last year.

On the day of the incident, Elswick believed a friend of his was in trouble at the school, King said.

"He thought his friend was being held hostage and needed his help," King said. "It was something that was not true."

Elswick's sister, Marsha McGuire of Cross Lanes, said that if released he would live with his mother in Clendenin.

Webster said, "I'm concerned that the injuries affected his mental faculties," but added that the allegations he faces are serious.

If released, Webster ordered that Elswick must live with his mother in a home that has no firearms. She instructed family members to notify the court immediately if they have concerns about him.

"Out of an abundance of caution, I'm also going to order that he have continuing medical treatment and counseling," she said.

Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at or 304-348-4832.


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