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Authorities trace gun in West Virginia sheriff’s shooting

Posted at 1:06 PM, Apr 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-06 11:38:14-04

By CNN Staff

(CNN) — Authorities said they are trying to determine how the suspect in the death of a West Virginia sheriff obtained the gun believed used in the shooting.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has traced the gun authorities say was used in the Wednesday shooting of Mingo County Sheriff Walter E. “Eugene” Crum, according to West Virginia State Police.

But a spokesman said Friday police would not release the results of the trace at this time or say whether the gun had been purchased by the suspect.

“We still have some additional work that needs to be completed in order to determine if it was legally obtained or not,” said First Sgt. Michael Baylous.

Investigators want to interview suspect Tennis Melvin Maynard, 37, when he is well enough to speak to authorities.

A law enforcement official told CNN the .40-caliber Glock handgun believed used in the incident had been legally purchased initially, but did not say when or by whom. It was not clear whether it had subsequent owners.

Crum, 59, was fatally shot as he sat in his police car Wednesday having lunch. Maynard was shot and wounded following a chase and has been in the hospital since.

A search of Mingo County court records show no criminal arrests or civil cases involving Maynard. His only citation involves failure to wear a seat belt, according to the records.

On Thursday, a source with knowledge of the suspect’s past told CNN that Maynard had spent time at a state hospital for mental health issues within the past couple of years.

Weeping and shaking, his mother, Olgie Maynard, confirmed as much, saying her son was institutionalized for about a week three to four years ago.

“He went crazy,” Olgie Maynard told CNN, explaining her son hadn’t been the same since he was involved in a workplace explosion five or six years ago in Alabama. “He was out in the yard yelling. We called the police, and they took him away.”

Since then, she said Tennis had gotten more psychiatric help at another mental health center. At home in Ragland, where he lives with his parents, he mostly stayed in his bedroom and watched television.

“He talks a lot to himself,” Olgie Maynard said. “… He was never violent.”

She said that Tennis Maynard “has guns, but I don’t know one from another.”

CNN’s Susan Candiotti, Carol Cratty, Ross Levitt and Greg Botelho contributed to this report.