Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office confirms man who reportedly shot himself there was a suspect in Lewis County fire that killed four

WALKERSVILLE – The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that a man who reportedly died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Hugheston, West Virginia, was a suspect in an early-morning structure fire in Lewis County involving multiple fatalities.

The West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office said four individuals perished in that fire, which occurred just after midnight Monday, March 11, at 4776 Glady Creek Road in the Ireland community, just west of the Upshur-Lewis County line. Some or all of the victims may have been shot before the fire, according to preliminary reports from police.

The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release Monday afternoon connecting the dots between the two locations.

According to the release, deputies were dispatched to a residence on Ester Lane in Hugheston – an unincorporated community located on the north bank of the Kanawha River – at approximately 3:30 a.m. March 11 to investigate a report of an unwanted person.

“Metro 911 dispatchers had taken a call from the residents of that home stating a family member, Mr. Luke Wilson, 45 years old, from Walkersville, West Virginia (Lewis County), was allegedly a suspect in a suspicious fire that is believed to have resulted in multiple fatalities,” the release states. “That fire took place in Lewis County.”

The press release says Wilson “could initially be seen moving around inside his vehicle,” but the motion stopped abruptly.

“Deputies discovered that Mr. Wilson was deceased inside his vehicle from a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” the release states. “Deputies were able to confirm with Lewis County that Mr. Wilson was a suspect in [the] earlier fire case.

West Virginia Chief Deputy Fire Marshal Robbie Bailey called the earlier fire “very suspicious.” He could not share any official information about the ages or genders of the victims yet.

“What I can tell you is that we have every reason to believe that there could be up to four people in that house,” Bailey said. “As of right now, about 45 minutes ago, we have located four bodies, so considering the damage, we will absolutely have to run through the processes of the medical examiner’s office to make sure we get those identities correct.”

The Walkersville Volunteer Fire Department, which covers the area, was the first to arrive at the fire.

Bailey said the State Fire Marshal’s Office sent six investigators to the home, and they have been on scene all day with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

“Damage is very extensive, and we have brought heavy equipment in to examine that scene,” he said.

The remote location of the incident has slowed the investigation, Bailey added.

“The biggest problem we’re facing right now is it’s in a very remote area, so I have no cell phone service to contact my guys who are there,” Bailey said. “We’re having to communicate by radio, which is OK, but it stretches things out, and the damage to that structure is pretty severe, so that’s going to slow us down just a little bit, too.”

Lewis County Sheriff Dave Gosa said he was notified of the fire at 12:30 a.m. and could provide some preliminary information.

“We’re still piecing it all together, but from what I understand right now, a shooting occurred at the home prior to the house being set on fire,” the sheriff said.

His chief investigator is still on scene, he said.

Gosa said Wilson – the person believed to be responsible for the shooting or shootings – had fled before Lewis County law enforcement arrived on scene, and in an effort to locate him, deputies interviewed Wilson’s ex-wife.

“She told us that he came to her house and said he’d like to spend the night there because ‘it was probably going to be his last night on Earth,’” Gosa recounted. “She refused to let him stay. He gave her a bunch of money and he fled.”

The ex-wife gave the LCSO several areas to search for Wilson, but deputies were unable to locate him in those areas.

“She did tell us he had relatives in the Charleston area, but we didn’t reach out to them because where we were at was in a very remote location where there’s no cell service,” Gosa said. “My understanding is that Kanawha County reached out to our dispatch center.”

When asked if Wilson stayed at the Lewis County home, Gosa said, “My understanding is that he stayed there from time to time.”

Upshur County Sheriff Mike Coffman said Upshur County deputies assisted in the search for Wilson before he was found in Kanawha County.

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