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Two Texas men charged in alleged shooting of Lewisburg officer

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Two Lewisburg police officers were shot Thursday after pulling over a sport utility vehicle with stolen North Carolina license plates on Interstate 64 west of Sam Black Church Road, starting a manhunt that spanned several counties and lasted several hours.

UPDATE: The Public Information Officer for the West Virginia State Police has released the names of the two men who allegedly shot two officers in Lewisburg Thursday night. Edward Campbell, 54, and his son, Eric Campbell, 21, of Indian Acres, Texas, have been arrested and charged with attempted murder and malicious assault.

While searching for a suspect, authorities discovered two recently deceased bodies hidden under a mattress in the bed of one of the vehicles involved in the shooting, the West Virginia State Police said. The victims are believed to be from North Carolina.

State Police believe the two suspects in custody are a father and a son.

By 7 p.m., one of the suspects was found in a wooded area off of I-64 about a mile from the crime scene, said Donna Hinkle, administrative director for Greenbrier County’s 911 Center.

Late Thursday night, law enforcement officers were combing the wooded area along the interstate searching for a possible third suspect, she said.

Authorities also issued a BOLO — be on the lookout — for a third vehicle, a black or dark blue Subaru with West Virginia license plates that was last seen getting gas at the BP station on Harper Road, then turned onto Robert C. Byrd Drive traveling toward Sophia. The car is believed to have had three occupants, and the driver appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent, according to authorities.

For several hours exit ramps and the interstate itself were blocked in both directions along I-64 as authorities searched for the suspects. Traffic was backed up for miles, as people tried to take back roads to reach their destinations.

The shooting occurred at 4 p.m. when Greenbrier County’s LPR, or license plate recognition camera, pinged an allegedly stolen plate on a white Chevy Suburban, said Hinkle.

The 911 Center reported the stolen tags to the Lewisburg Police Department, which responded by sending two officers to stop the SUV.

When the officers pulled over the SUV, a male occupant “opened fire” on the officers, Hinkle said. The officers were struck but returned fire, hitting the Suburban’s occupant. He was arrested at the scene and taken to a local hospital for treatment, Hinkle said.

While this was occurring, the apparent driver of a red Chevrolet truck also with North Carolina tags opened fire on the officers and fled the scene, she said.

For nearly two hours, a number of law enforcement agencies across southern West Virginia engaged in an intensive manhunt looking for the truck that reportedly had a tarp-covered bed and was being driven by a man of Middle Eastern descent.

State Police said the second supect walked up the interstate and turned himself into law enforcement without incident.

The officers spent Thursday night in a local hospital for observation for their nonlife-threatening wounds, said Lewisburg’s Mayor John Manchester. The mayor would not release the officers’ names, but said one was new to the department and the other was a veteran of the force.

There was no word on the second suspect’s condition late Thursday night.

When the abandoned red Chevy was found along the interstate around mile marker 165, police cleared the area and brought in a canine unit and employed heat-seeking devices searching for the possible third suspect. A short time later, the second suspect was found, Hinkle said.

The eastbound lane of I-64 was reopened shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday, but the westbound lanes remained closed as the search continued for the possible third suspect.

Manchester said the shootings are an example of the dangers of police work. “This proves police work is a very dangerous line of work,” he said. “Officers go through a lot of training, but you cannot guard against anything 100 percent.”

State Police said the two men were arrested for malicious assault and attempted murder on a police officer.

State Police are in contect with North Carolina authorities to identify the bodies.

The West Virginia State Police, Lewisburg Police Department, Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement are scheduled to meet later today to share information concerning the shootings.

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