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Berkeley County man dies during police encounter


The Journal

MARTINSBURG, W.Va.  — A man who allegedly shot himself in the head during a traffic stop, following a reported domestic incident Tuesday morning, has been identified.

John Patrick Gracy, 50, of Poor House Road, was pronounced dead at Berkeley County Medical Center, according to Berkeley County Sheriff Curtis Keller.

“Basically, we received a call to the office around 12:16 a.m. of a domestic incident on Poor House Road,” Keller said. “Once we received a call, officers responded. Dispatch got another call saying the gentleman — the boyfriend — had shot a pistol inside the residence. Once he shot inside the residence the girlfriend jumped out of the house.”

The female victim escaped and informed deputies of what happened.

“Once she was outside, deputies picked her up and she explained the incident to them,” Keller said. “Deputies were in the process of getting warrants, and the girlfriend notified authorities that he had barricaded himself in the residence with several weapons.”

A special response team was being prepared while warrants were finalized, Keller said.

“While we were getting paperwork for warrants, we called special response team and while we were getting organized, the gentleman jumped out of the house and got in a vehicle,” Keller said. “We got him to stop in the 1400 block of Pitzers Chapel Road. Deputies went up around the car and gave commands to get out of the vehicle.”

The situation turned tragic during the traffic stop.

“The conversation went back and forth, and during the exchange, the gentleman got a weapon from inside the vehicle and put it up to his head and pulled the trigger,” Keller said. “A deputy behind thought he was shooting at officers and disarched his weapon striking the car. They did not hit the deceased.”

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