TALLMANSVILLE – Police are searching for an unidentified man who called the Upshur County E911 Communication Center Wednesday to report shots fired in the Tallmansville area – and then, called back a second time, allegedly threatening to shoot law enforcement officers.
The Upshur County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday released a statement saying a SWAT team had been staged at the bus garage near Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School as a result of the call. The person initially called in to report that shots had been fired somewhere on the Tallmansville Road and then soon after, called back, threatening to “shoot police officers.”
The press release says at 2:33 p.m. Wednesday, “an unidentified male subject called Upshur 911 stating shots had been fired at a location on the Tallmansville Road.”
“The subject made a second call a few minutes [later] threatening to shoot police officers,” the release continues. “The Upshur County Sheriff’s Office responded with its SWAT team assisted by Buckhannon City Police and the W.Va. State Police. No threat was found at the scene.”
The release acknowledges the Buckhannon Fire Department and Washington District Volunteer Fire Company for closing down a portion of Tallmansville Road “for a short period of time” and Upshur EMS for having ambulances on stand-by at the staging area at the middle school bus garage.
The release says the investigation is ongoing, and arrest is anticipated.
Reports of an active shooter in the Tallmansville area spread quickly via social media Wednesday afternoon and evening, and media outlets were unable to immediately dispel the confusion.
Lead investigating officer Chief Deputy Mike Kelley with the sheriff’s department did not release information or details prior to going off-duty Wednesday.
However, the Comm Center confirmed no active shooter had been found in the areas searched.
The Upshur County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management officials noted community members’ frustration in a Facebook post of their own Wednesday evening, writing, “There are a lot of negative posts concerning the emergency presence at the bus garage. If it would have been necessary to alert the public, this office would have done so. Our communities’ safety is our primary concern.”
Brian Shreves, director of Upshur DHS-OEM, said Thursday he wants residents to know that if a threat to public safety was imminent, his office would have notified community members promptly. The DHS-OEM did not release information immediately because it had not yet been authorized to do so by law enforcement.
“But if it’s a public safety issue, we will release it to the public as soon as we’re able to,” Shreves said.
Anyone with information about the incident may contact the sheriff’s department at 304-472-1182 and ask to speak with Kelley or another on-duty deputy.