The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

March 21, 2014

Sophia man arrested in break-in case

By Cody Neff
Register-Herald Reporter

— A man is behind bars again after police arrested him for allegedly breaking in to someone’s house with another man in November. During the break-in, one suspect accidentally shot himself, the homeowner told police.

Eric Lawrence Wood, 35, of Sophia was charged with robbery, malicious wounding, and conspiracy to commit a felony, according to the criminal complaint against him.

Mabscott Assistant Police Chief A.L. Cook was called out Nov. 16 because of reports of a home invasion, the complaint says.

Cook knocked on the door and found a man bleeding from his forehead and elbow. The man said he was the homeowner. Cook wrote that he saw blood on the floor and carpet and an end table was turned over in the living room. A clipboard and ink pen were lying in the floor.

The homeowner said he answered a knock at the door and saw a man wearing a white AEP hard hat. The man said he had some questions for the homeowner before another man hit the homeowner in the face and knocked him to the floor.

When he hit the floor, the homeowner said the man in the hard hat came over and kicked him in the forehead. The other suspect went to the homeowner’s safe to look for drugs. One suspect pulled out a gun and asked the homeowner, “Are you ready to meet your maker?” The homeowner said he grabbed the barrel of the pistol and the two started to struggle over the gun. The gun went off and the suspect shot himself in the leg or in the foot, the homeowner said in the criminal complaint.

The wounded suspect ran out the front door and the other ran out the back, the complaint stated. Cook got a call from dispatch that the suspect who shot himself was on his way to Raleigh General Hospital.

The man was Eric Wood, who denied that he had ever been to Mabscott when Cook interviewed him. Cook tested Wood for gunshot residue on his hands and face.

Wood’s clothes were also taken as evidence to see if they had any of the homeowner’s blood on them.

Fingerprints from the clipboard found at the scene tied Wood to the crime. After getting lab work back from Charleston, Cook and Special Agent Douglas Dean went to Southern Regional Jail and interviewed Wood, who was already in jail for a parole violation committed in January.

Police are still looking for the other suspect and are following up on leads at this time.