Trooper's Shooting Saddens Community
Jesse Mancini
Staff Writer



HARRISVILLE - A community Friday mourned the death of a likeable West Virginia State Police trooper as flags flew at half mast in Ritchie County.

Trooper Larry Hacker, 33, Harrisville was shot late Thursday night in the community of White Oaks where he responded to a report of a truck blocking a one lane county road. Charged with murder was Dennis Ferguson 67, a World War II veteran.

The incident was the talk of the town Friday where sidewalk vendors were plying their wares.

"It was awful what happened out there. It isn't safe here anymore," Gretchen Chaddocks said.

"The question I don't understand is why he wanted to shoot that Trooper like that in the first" place said her husband, Charles. "Its getting awful anymore, the whole world is"

Ferguson will he prosecuted by Prosecutor David Hanlon, who remembered Hacker as a likeable and dedicated public servant.

"He was a credit to the Department of Public Safety and to this community. It's hard to find a trooper as well liked and well thought of as Hacker," said Hanlon. "It's so senseless. Over a damn car in the road." 

"It's sad and the community is saddened by it," said Carolyn Vincent, owner of the Sandwich Shop in downtown Harrisville. "You don't expect that kind of stuff so close to home," said Ada Robinson, who lives near Pullman

I think it's terrible said Opal Davis. "I just learned a little while back he (Hacker) may have saved, my landlord's life."

The news was hard to believe Friday morning, Donny Deem said, adding he knew Hacker.

"I couldn't hardly believe it," Deem said. "I think it shocks everybody when something like this happens."

Guns, according to Hanlon, are too easily available and people are too easily willing to use them. A number of guns were confiscated from the Ferguson residence, he said. "The problem is guns are too readily accessible and people are too ready to pick them up at the drop of a hat," Hanlon said.

In honor of Hacker, Gov. Gaston Caperton ordered flags to be flown at half-staff Friday at the Capitol and all state buildings throughout West Virginia. The flags will remain at half-staff until Hacker is buried, said spokesman Bob Brunner.

In a prepared statement, Caperton said: 'this tragedy brings into sharp focus the danger faced by our law enforcement officers every day. On behalf of all West Virginians, my deepest condolences to Trooper Hacker's family and his grieving fellow officers, who risk their lives to protect our safety."