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Death in Hancock shooting incident ruled a suicide

NEW CUMBERLAND, W.Va. — County Prosecuting Attorney James W. Davis Jr. on Thursday released additional information explaining the charges Michael A. McClanahan Sr., received after this week’s grand jury indictments. McClanahan ia charged in relation to the August shooting incident in New Manchester.

Davis begin by saying it was an intensive investigation that involved four crime scenes. He said during the investigation they analyzed and determined what happened at each location to determine McClanahan’s charges.

McClanahan was arrested Aug. 14 following a series of 911 calls, the death of 58-year-old Sandra Brown and injuries to four others.

Davis reported Sandra Brown’s death was ruled a suicide. It is assumed she committed suicide in front of McClanahan. Davis said there were additional shots fired by McClanahan at Judge Drive near New Cumberland, where Brown’s body was found. Sheriff Ralph Fletcher confirmed the suicide ruling.

Fletcher encourages anyone contemplating suicide to reach out to the numerous resources in place to help with depression. The suicide prevention hotline is 1-800-273-8255. He also encourages family members and friends to be diligent of warning signs, to talk to their loved ones and to seek help to prevent suicide.

McClanahan, of Judge Drive, was indicted on four counts of wanton endangerment involving a firearm; three counts of attempted murder; malicious assault; two counts of attempted malicious assault; robbery in the first degree; kidnapping; fleeing an officer in a vehicle; fleeing an officer while DUI; and DUI third or subsequent offense. He is being held in the Northern Regional Jail on a $150,000 bond.

According to reports at the time, Hancock County 911 received a call the night of Aug. 14 that a woman had been shot at a residence on Judge Drive. Deputies located Brown’s body at the residence, along with an injured Travis Choina.

Shortly after, a second call reported an active shooter on Clearview Street, where an individual had been reported to have driven through a yard and shot into a residence multiple times. Three people were injured as a result. Davis said this location is where the attempted murder charges come from. He said the people at this location were targeted due to their involvement in an unrelated criminal proceeding against a family member.

Davis also mentioned the calls from the Red Barn trailer park in New Cumberland. Davis said he’s not sure why McClanahan went to the Red Barn, but he thinks it was because a family member lived there. It was reported McClanahan was speeding and was confronted by residents for his actions in the trailer park. Davis also reported McClanahan attempted to kidnap an unidentified woman and he took her car keys at gunpoint, but she was able to get away.

Following another incident at Carriage Court, a deputy attempted to stop a vehicle traveling north on Route 8, which then turned onto Locust Hill Road and struck a residence. McClanahan was shot by a deputy during the arrest. It was determined McClanahan was driving while under the influence.

“I’m very proud of the department in how it answered and handled the call, again four different areas. But that’s never the end, their followup is essential, and my detectives and others in the department worked hard in this case and put many hours in,” said Fletcher. “I’m happy and proud of how they handled it during the event but also the follow through with the investigation.”

Davis said he will be the prosecutor assigned to try McClanahan’s case and he expects to be assisted by Jack Wood, his chief assistant.

Davis said McClanahan is essentially facing life in prison, due to the number of charges and their designated prison terms. He said the robbery charge is about a 10 year sentence and kidnapping can be between 20 and 50 years.

The circuit court will be assigning pretrial and trial dates to all cases in this grand jury term on Jan. 23.

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