Ambushed State Trooper Killed
Sentinel Reporter



PULLMAN - The death of a State Police Trooper shot from an ambush while answering a complaint against a rural Ritchie County man remained under investigation today.

Trooper Larry G. Hacker, 34, of Harrisville died at Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital about 1 a.m. today, State Police Sgt. Bt. Burner said in a brief Statement on the incident.

"Trooper Hacker was shot and killed while answering a disturbance complaint in the Pullman area," Burner of Company A Headquarters in Shinnston said this morning.

The shooting sparked a gun battle Thursday night between officers who rushed to the scene and suspected killer Dennis Ferguson, who held paramedics at bay with gunfire as they tried to reach the wounded Trooper, State Police Superintendent Col. Tom Kirk said.

Ferguson, 67, was arrested about two hours after the 10 p.m. shooting in a wooded area near the scene, Kirk said. A warrant charging Ferguson with murder was issued in Harrisville early today and was being sent to Parkersburg, Burner said.

Burner said Hacker was flown to Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital by helicopter from the rural community of White Oak about three miles east of Pullman.

Burner said when Police arrested Ferguson he required medical treatment Ferguson had an injury above his eye and was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital, Burner said.

"They did have a shoot-out with him (Ferguson) but I don't know whether that affected it," Burner said. Ferguson was treated and released at the hospital early today and taken to the Ritchie County Jail. Burner said. 

Ritchie County Sheriff Mike Burwell said the gun battle lasted between 20 and 30 minutes. Ferguson had retreated to a knoll where he could watch the Police officers, Burwell said.

Burwell said Ferguson would not let paramedics near Hacker after the shooting. He said Hacker was flown out about 11:30p.m. after the gunman fled.
"I really wasn't keeping too good a track of time with all that was going on out there," Burweli said.

Burwell said Hacker and other law enforcement officers were answering a complaint call from Jack Langford, 48, a neighbor of Ferguson's. Langford, a guidance counselor at
Ritchie County High School, reportedly called Troopers after Ferguson parked his truck on Ritchie County Route 9-9 and blocked Langford from reaching his house.

"He (Ferguson) had the road blocked," Burwell said. "They were having some kind of a
dispute." Hacker and a State Police Trooper trainee arrived at the scene at about 10 am. Deputy Gary Hissom and a Pleasants County deputy were in a car following Hacker for back-up. 

Burwell said. Hissom called for further assistance at the time of the shooting and several law enforcement officers from State Police and area departments responded, Burwell said.

"My whole department was there," Burwell said. "There was a ton of State Police Troopers out there."

Hacker is survived by his wife and two children, Burner said. Hacker was assigned to the State Police detachment in Harrisville and had recently transferred from the detachment in St. Marys, Pleasants County. 

Hacker had first worked in Harrisville from the time he left the State Police academy in the late l980s until May 1992, said Dawna Baker, St. Marys detachment secretary.

Baker said she had worked with Hacker at both the Harrisville and St. Marys detachments and considered him a friend. "He loved his family very much and it showed," Baker said. "He was a very trusting person. He was very sweet and very kind, very thoughtful." 

The last Trooper killed in the line of duty in West Virginia was James T. Brammer, 42, who was shot while serving a traffic warrant in April 1989.