A second trooper involved in a shooting during a traffic stop died Friday, West Virginia State Police said.
Eric Michael Workman had been in critical condition at Charleston Area Medical Center since the shooting on Tuesday night. Cpl. Marshall Lee Bailey also was killed in the shooting.
State Police say 22-year-old Luke Baber of Oak Hill shot the troopers with a handgun hidden in his pants after he was put in their cruiser’s backseat. It happened at the Wallback park and ride along West Virginia Route 36 just off Interstate 79 in Roane County.
State Police Superintendent Col. C.R. “Jay” Smithers has said the troopers searched Baber but did not discover the gun. Baber’s hands were handcuffed in front of him. Baber also wounded a tow truck driver and Roane County Sheriff’s Deputy John Westfall before he was killed in a shootout with other officers.
“I met with Trooper Workman’s family earlier this week, and I can honestly say without a doubt, West Virginia lost a very brave young man this afternoon,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in a statement.
Workman joined the WVSP on Jan. 10, 2011. He was assigned to the Grantsville Detachment upon graduating from the West Virginia State Police Academy and had been recently transferred to the Clay Detachment.
“Trooper Workman was an outstanding young man with a promising future,” Smithers said. “It is unfortunate his life was cut short by this senseless and cowardly act.”
State Police said in a statement that Workman’s family wanted the public to know that he was an organ donor and the family hoped that “even in his death, his selfless service to others will continue by providing others an opportunity to live a fruitful life.”
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin also released a statement on Workman’s death:
“Gayle and I mourn tonight with the Workman family and the entire state of West Virginia. Over the past few days our state has now lost two brave souls in the line of duty, and no words will give comfort to their families or their brothers and sisters in law enforcement. But all of us must never take for granted what law enforcement and first responders do for each and every one of us: they put themselves in the line of danger so that we may be protected. May God bless them all.”
The fatal shootings of the troopers could lead to changes in the agency’s arrest procedures.
The State Police reviews any critical incident to determine whether changes are needed to improve safety, agency spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous said.
“Our policy and procedure manual is a fluid document,” Baylous said “We’re constantly looking at it and adjusting it.”
Baylous also said that troopers have the discretion to handcuff a suspect with hands in front if the person is not considered to be a threat, is cooperating or is being arrested on a misdemeanor charge.
“They based their actions on the circumstances as they were at the time (Baber was handcuffed),” Baylous said.
Baber was driving a stolen truck but the troopers did not know that when they pulled him over. They were responding to a reckless driving complaint. The troopers also were unaware of a previous domestic battery conviction, Baylous said.
“Bailey was a veteran trooper,” Baylous said. “Based on his experience, he was weighing into his decisions whether this guy was cooperating and things of that nature.”
While the incident will be reviewed, Baylous said the agency has not had time to address these issues because “we’re still so much in the grieving process.”
“Joanne and I have held this family (the Workmans) and the entire West Virginia State Police family in our prayers, and we will continue to pray for them in the days ahead,” Tomblin said. “May God bless the men and women who wear the uniform and whose mission it is to protect us all.”
Funeral arrangements for Workman are pending.
Bailey’s funeral is set for 2 p.m. Sunday at the Charleston Civic Center.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.