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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) A Charleston police officer shot and killed early Sunday appears to have been struck by friendly fire, Mayor Danny Jones said.
Patrolman Jerry Jones, 27, died shortly after 1 a.m. after a chase involving several police officers that ended on a gravel road near Quick, said Jones, who is not related to the fallen officer.
The officers had been trying to catch a pickup truck that they suspected of involvement in a hit-and-run accident Saturday night, said Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster.
The mayor said officers fired shots after the truck began ramming police cars. Jones was one of five officers on scene at the chase s end.
The driver of the pickup, who also was fatally shot, was unarmed, the mayor announced during a late Sunday news conference. The suspect s name has not been released, pending notification of family.
There s every reason to believe Jones was struck by a bullet fired from another officer s gun, the mayor said.
He was wearing a bulletproof vest, but the mayor said the bullet struck him just above the vest.
A female passenger in the suspect s truck was not injured.
The mayor said five officers, including some who arrived after the shooting, have been placed on paid leave while the Kanawha County Sheriff s Department investigates.
Jones was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had served with the Charleston Police Department for three years. He is survived by his wife.
Jones death was the first fatal shooting of a Charleston police officer in 28 years. Patrolmen Eddie Duncan and Lt. Delbert Roush were shot and killed during a traffic stop in the summer of 1981. Antoine Hickman is serving a life sentence for their murders.