February 16, 2011 / 5:29 PM / 9 years ago

U.S. marshal killed serving arrest warrant

CHARLESTON, West Virginia (Reuters) - A deputy U.S. marshal was fatally shot and two others were wounded on Wednesday as they were trying to arrest a West Virginia man who also was killed in the exchange, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Charles Smith, 50, opened fire with a shotgun as several marshals and state police entered his home at about 8:30 a.m. in Elkins, West Virginia, about 140 miles northeast of Charleston, said Jeff Carter, spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service in Washington, D.C.

The marshals had a federal search warrant and an arrest warrant for Smith, who was wanted on cocaine charges, Carter said.

As the marshals entered his home, they were struck by the shotgun blast. They returned gunfire, killing Smith, Carter said.

Deputy Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller, 24, was shot in the neck and died of his wounds. He had worked as a marshal for just over a year, Carter said.

A second marshal was shot in his bulletproof vest and a third was shot in the hand. The two marshals’ wounds were not life-threatening, and one was recovering at a local hospital, and the other was treated and released, Carter said.

Smith was being sought on a charge related to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and felony possession of a firearm, Carter said. Serving the warrants with the marshals were members of the West Virginia State Police and the Mountain State Fugitive Task Force.

The wounded marshals’ names were not immediately released.

Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Jerry Norton and Greg McCune

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