The deputy U.S. Marshal who was killed while serving an arrest warrant on a residence in Elkins, West Virginia this morning was a 24-year-old who graduated from the U.S. Marshals Academy just over a year ago.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller of Bridgeport, W. Va., had worked for the U.S. Marshals Service’s Clarksburg office since his graduation just over a year ago from the U.S. Marshals Academy, spokesman Jeff Carter told reporters in an e-mail.
“Hotsinpiller was among several Deputy U.S. Marshals from the Northern District of West Virginia, who, along with members of the West Virginia State Police and The Mountain State Fugitive Task Force were serving an arrest warrant on Charles E. Smith at 319 Central Street in Elkins,” Carter said.
“Smith, 50, was wanted on a charges related to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and felon in possession of a firearm,” Carter said. “Immediately upon entry into Smith’s residence, three Deputy U.S. Marshals were fired upon by a shotgun blast and struck. Deputies returned fire on Smith and he was shot dead on the scene.”
The U.S. Marshals Service is not releasing the identities of the injured deputies at this time, Carter said. The FBI and West Virginia State Police are investigating the shooting.
Hotsinpiller was the first deputy U.S. Marshal to die in the line of duty from gunfire since 1992, when William Degan was killed at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. The last U.S. Marshals-related death from gunfire took place on Jan. 4, 2010 when Court Security Officer Stanley W. Cooper was killed in Las Vegas. Those figures do not include local task force officers who are from other law enforcement agencies but and are given special deputation.
Late Update: Attorney General Eric Holder issued the following statement:
“Today’s shootings in Elkins, West Virginia, demonstrate yet again the danger that our nation’s law enforcement officers confront on a daily basis. This morning, while attempting to serve a felony arrest warrant, three Deputy United States Marshals were met with gunfire from a dangerous fugitive who was eventually killed. In fulfilling their critical duties, these courageous Deputies put their lives on the line and put the safety of others above their own.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Deputy U.S. Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller, who made the ultimate sacrifice today, and with the two Deputies who were injured in the line of duty. Their valiant actions and their service to our nation will not be forgotten, and the Justice Department’s ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of all those who serve in law enforcement will continue to be a top priority.”