By RACHEL C. DOVE
WILLIAMSON - A resolution was read and certificates of appreciation were presented to court bailiffs Brandon Maynard and Henry Moore on Wednesday during the Mingo County Commission (MCC) meeting in appreciation for outstanding performance in their job capacity.
MCC President John Mark Hubbard and fellow commissioners Greg “Hootie” Smith and David Baisden spoke of a potentially dangerous incident that occurred recently in the courthouse, when William Wolford, 60, of Ben Creek, attempted to bypass the metal detector located inside the front entrance of the courthouse with a loaded .22 caliber revolver in his pocket.
Wolford was scheduled to appear in family court for a hearing that afternoon regarding a domestic violence petition that had been taken against him by a family member. The defendant had voiced his dislike toward Family Court Judge Micah Thompson, which made the gun incident even more worrisome.
Quick thinking and the right response to the situation prevented Wolford from being successful in his attempts, and according to the commissioners, could very well have saved lives.
“We are so appreciative of the fine job these bailiffs performed during this incident,” said Hubbard. “This circumstance could have ended on a very different note had these men not intervened.”
The bailiffs, along with their supervisor, Larry “Yogi” Croaff, who serves as Chief Court Marshal, were introduced to those attending the meeting and were presented with the certificates. The men received a standing ovation for their heroic efforts.
“Living in a smaller community compared to larger cities such as Huntington and Charleston, we are blessed to not experience the number of crimes that they have become all too familiar with there,” Baisden said to the Daily News. “We have our fair share of crimes being committed, that goes without saying, but violent acts such as shootings in public buildings are thankfully something we have been blessed to avoid.
“Because of this fact, we tell ourselves situations that involve shootings and violent acts in areas such as courthouses won’t happen here, but we know that belief doesn’t hold true. No one can truly say what the defendant’s intentions were when he brought a loaded handgun into the courthouse. We can speculate and wonder, but only he knows what he had planned.
“Courthouse officials, employees and private citizens who were inside the building were kept safe and secure by these bailiffs. We owe them a great deal of gratitude.”
Croaff stated that he was very proud of the job his bailiffs had performed and said that situations like this are something you never hope to personally experience, but if and when they do, it’s comforting and reassuring to know that the court bailiffs have been properly trained to respond.
“We’re a close knit group here in the courthouse, and a lot of us have worked around each other for many years. We feel more like a family. The safety of each and everyone one of them is our responsibility, and it’s something we take very seriously,” said the chief marshal.