(CNN) — Authorities say they’ve arrested a suspect who they believe fatally shot a West Virginia sheriff on Wednesday.
Walter E. “Eugene” Crum was sitting in a marked patrol vehicle and eating lunch when he was killed, said Lt. Randy Hatfield with the Mingo County Sheriff’s Office.
The suspect has been hospitalized, Hatfield said. Authorities, who have not released his identity, are still investigating the shooting, Hatfield said.
Crum also served as a county magistrate, Hatfield said.
The sheriff’s slaying shook the rural county, which normally sees only one or two murders per year, Hatfield said.
“It’s devastating,” he said. “It’s a big blow to the community.”
The Williamson Daily News reported that Crum was in his vehicle in downtown Williamson when a man drove into the parking lot, approached Crum’s sport-utility vehicle and shot him point-blank.
A witness saw the shooting, called 911, and gave police a vehicle tag number that led them to the suspect, Hatfield said.
Investigators believe a handgun was used. It was unclear how many shots were fired, Hatfield said.
Asked whether officials thought there was any connection between Crum’s slaying and the recent killings of a Colorado prison official or the slayings of two Texas prosecutors, Hatfield said, “I hope not,” but declined to elaborate further.
Crum was married and had children and grandchildren.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued a statement, saying in part, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Crum family.”