Deputy Tom Baker (photo via Wilderness Fire Department)

Nicholas County deputy, one suspect killed in Birch River shootout

One Nicholas County deputy was killed and another injured in a shootout in Birch River Friday night, sheriff William F. Nunley said in a social media post. One of the two suspects involved in the shooting was also killed.

“On June 3, 2022 Nicholas County Sheriff Deputies responded to a domestic disturbance in the Birch River area around 5 pm,” the post reads. “Upon arrival Deputies made contact with Ritchie Holcomb DOB 12/77/85 & Tyler Kelly 04/25/94 located in a camper. The two came out of the camper talking with deputies, at some point the suspects became agitated, running back into the camper.

“Deputies pursued them into the camper, discharging a taser. The suspects then began firing at officers, officers backed out of the camper where shots fired continued. Deputy Tom Baker was struck in the back, while Cpl. J. Ellison was struck in the leg.

“Unit #223 Deputy Tom Baker passed due to his injuries, Cpl. Ellison was treated for the gunshot wound and released. Holcomb passed due to his injuries, Kelly was taken into custody after a short standoff and physical altercation. The West Virginia State Police is currently working the investigation regarding the shot officers.”

Kelly is being held at the Central Regional Jail in Flatwoods without bond for first-degree murder, according to the West Virginia Regional Jail Authority website.

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