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CURRENT STORIES


Alleged gunman may face state and federal charges

by Nora Edinger

REGIONAL EDITOR

ELKINS -- A Randolph County man alleged to have wounded five area police officers this week will face legal action in three counties and, possibly, at the federal level, as soon as he gets out of the hospital.

"He's not going anywhere," Randolph County Prosecutor Earl Maxwell said of Scott Ennis, 29, of Montrose.

Ennis allegedly shot an officer in Buckhannon on Sunday and wounded four other officers during a 13-hour shoot-out in Montrose that ended with his arrest early Tuesday morning. He remained in stable condition at Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins on Wednesday.

The most immediate legal action involves an unrelated misdemeanor domestic battery warrant from Randolph County, Maxwell said. That May 7 warrant is what State Police used to take Ennis into custody.

"We will, of course, prosecute that ... as soon as he is able and we are able," Maxwell said.

That warrant is also being used by Tucker County Circuit Court officials, who are in the process of revoking Ennis' five-year probation for a 2001 shooting there, Maxwell said. That revocation could lead to an automatic one-year jail sentence for that prior misdemeanor conviction, he added.

Additionally, Buckhannon police issued two warrants Tuesday for attempted first-degree murder, both felonies. They stemmed from a Sunday incident in which Ennis allegedly shot a Buckhannon officer -- injuring him with bullet fragments and glass -- and tried to hit the officer with his vehicle.

Given the variety of warrants pending and potential for federal charges, Maxwell said he may skip the arrest-warrant stage and directly pursue a grand jury indictment against Ennis for the Montrose shootings.

Such strategizing will also be needed to decide which of the three to four legal jurisdictions will get the first day in court, he and Upshur County Prosecutor Alexander Ross added.

Because the Upshur County incident occurred first chronologically, that may be tried first. Or, they said, the Randolph County shootings may be prosecuted first because they were more in number and involved more serious injuries.

At least three of the four officers wounded during the standoff had been released from the hospital by Wednesday, according to Maxwell. Information on the fourth was not immediately available.

Regional editor Nora Edinger can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at nedinger@exponent-telegram.com