CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) - A Harrison County man fatally shot four people early Friday, including an elderly father and his son who were delivering newspapers when they apparently stumbled upon a drug deal gone wrong, authorities said.
Sidney A. Muller, 27, faces four counts of first-degree murder following his arrest in neighboring Marion County, where police said he had fled after the shooting in a Clarksburg neighborhood.
Harrison County Prosecuting Attorney Jack Shaffer said police and deputy sheriffs responding to a 4:30 a.m. shooting call found Todd Russell Amos, 29, of Clarksburg dead at the scene. Christopher A. Hart, 26, was found injured and died on his way to the hospital. Hart's address was listed as Locust Avenue, the scene of the shootings that Shaffer said "was directly related to drug activity."
Also found dead were two bystanders: Freddy Donald Swiger, 70, and his son, 47-year-old Fred Swiger. The two Harrison County men were delivering The Exponent Telegram, as they had as contractors for about 30 years, a newspaper executive said.
"They were extremely nice, loyal, and cared very deeply about their customers, said Exponent-Telegram President Brian Jarvis in a statement. "Their customers cared very deeply about them from the calls already this morning. They built a connection with people that was unique and special in every regard."
Police obtained information suggesting that Muller would flee to Marion County, and law enforcement officers were alerted to the Buick Verano that he was believed to be driving, Shaffer said. A Marion County deputy sheriff stopped Muller in the Whitehall area, where he was arrested for allegedly driving on a suspended license. Clarksburg Police detectives later interviewed Muller, leading to the murder charges, Shaffer said.
The scale of the crime is highly unusual for Clarksburg, said Shaffer, a lifelong county resident and its elected prosecutor for 11 years.
"Nobody I know can remember four dead in one event like this," Shaffer said.