TheNewsCenter | Parkersburg, West Virginia | News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Internal Review: No Wrongdoing by Parkersburg Police Detectives

By: WTAP News Email
By: WTAP News Email
More Video...

UPDATE 3/13/2014 5:00 PM

A purse snatching that turned into a chase and deadly gunfire.

The internal report investigating how it ended is complete.

The officers involved are cleared of any wrongdoing.

The police officer who shot a fleeing man to death was cleared by the police department.

But this was an internal investigation.

There still is a state police probe in progress, and a possibility of a grand jury.

Police Chief Joe Martin says the review found no wrongdoing by Detective P.M. Edelen.

But even Chief Martin believes the incident will eventually be presented to the grand jury.

Meanwhile, West Virginia State Police say their probe is nearly complete.

"The trooper who is assigned to it has completed the investigation. He's just waiting on a few lab reports to attach to the file," says Lt. Michael Baylous. "Once that happens, he'll send it over to the prosecutor's office."

State police have said 24-year-old Steven Lewis Pfalzgraf of Parkersburg was shot on Jan. 14 after he drove a car toward the officer.

That followed a purse snatching incident in the mall's food court.

The alleged purse snatcher, John Ragalyi, remains held on bond at the North Central Regional Jail.


UPDATE 3/13/2014 12:50 PM

An internal review says a Parkersburg Police detective acted within the department's guidelines when he fatally shot a suspect outside the Grand Central Mall.

Police Chief Joe Martin says the review found no wrongdoing by detective P.M. Edelen.

Still, Martin says the incident likely will be presented to a Wood County grand jury so that the public has confidence in the police department.

West Virginia State Police also are investigating the shooting.

State Police have said 24-year-old Steven Lewis Pfalzgraf of Parkersburg was shot on Jan. 14 after he drove a car toward the officer.

The incident began when Pfalzgraf ran from the mall's food court with another man who had snatched a purse.


UPDATE 1/24/2014 5:00 PM

An update on the status of the officers involved in last week's shooting at the Grand Central Mall.

Chief Joe Martin of the Parkersburg Police Department says Officer Stalnaker is back to full duty and Officer Edelen is progressing well.

Both were placed on administrative duties after the shooting when John David Ragalyi stole a purse from the food court and Steven Pfalzgraf drove the getaway car right at the officers.

Edelen opened fire after warning the two men that they were police, killing Pfalzgraf.


UPDATE 1/21/2014 5:00 PM

He's accused of stealing a woman's purse then running off, starting a chase that ended with a fatal shooting.

John David Ragalyi was arraigned Tuesday in Wood County Magistrate Court.

Ragalyi is charged with petit larceny and fleeing on foot.

Authorities say a week ago he stole a woman's purse in the food court at the Grand Central Mall.

State Police now say Steven Pfalzgraf was by Ragalyi's side when the purse was stolen and that the two conspired to steal the purse.

The two ran out of the mall and two Parkersburg Police officers chased after Pfalzgraf's car on foot.

One of the officers fatally shot Pfalzgraf after he says he was almost hit by his car.

Ragalyi's bond was set at $10,000 dollars.

If convicted he faces a maximum two years behind bars and $3,000 fine.

Authorities say it's not clear yet whether John David's wife Jenna will face charges.

Police say she was in the car at the time of the shooting but had no knowledge of the purse theft.


UPDATE 1/21/2014 12:45 PM

A Newport man accused of stealing a woman's purse in the Grand Central Mall last week is jailed on charges of petit larceny and fleeing on foot.

Authorities say John David Ragalyi took off with the purse and got into a car in the food court parking lot driven by Steven Lewis Pfalzgraf.

Parkersburg Police Officers P.M. Edelen and J.M. Stalnaker chased the car on foot.

Authorities say Pfalzgraf dragged Stalnaker across the pavement as he tried to take the keys from the ignition.

They say Pfalzgraf drove towards Edelen in a threatening manner and Edelen fatally shot Pfalzgraf.

Ragalyi's bond was set at $10,000.


UPDATE 1/16/2014 5:20 PM

Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin releases the names of the officers involved in the fatal shooting at the Grand Central Mall.

Chief Martin says officer P.M. Edelen fatally shot the driver, Steven Lewis Pfalzgraf.

He says officer J.M. Stalnaker was dragged across the pavement by the car.

Chief Martin says Edelen has been with the department 5 years, while Stalnaker has been with the department 12 years.

He says there have been no prior disciplinary issues with either officer.

Chief Martin says both officers are currently on administrative duty and they are receiving counseling.

"The department is taking steps, following our procedures and looking out for the welfare of our members, getting them established with some debrief counseling," says Chief Martin. "Anytime you're involved in this kind of situation, it's very stressful. It does take a toll emotionally on these guys."

Chief Martin adds he has no indication that his officers actions at any moment were inappropriate or crossed any lines.

He says they'll both return to full-duty, on their own time frame.

The chief adds that his department will conduct their own internal investigation regarding the actions of the two officers.

He says that will begin next week, pending the outcome of the criminal case.


UPDATE 1/16/2014 10:20 AM

West Virginia State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous says Steven Lewis Pfalzgraf, 24, of Parkersburg is the man who was shot and killed Tuesday by a Parkersburg Police officer.

Sgt. Baylous says the two robbery suspects who turned themselves in to Parkersburg Police Tuesday are John Ragalyi and his wife, Jenna Ragalyi, of New Matamoras.

Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin says the Ragalyis have since been released.

Sgt. Baylous says John Ragalyi stole a purse from a woman in the Grand Central Mall food court Tuesday afternoon.

He says charges are forthcoming against the Ragalyis.

Two Parkersburg Police officers chased after John Ragalyi after he stole the woman's purse, according to authorities.

Authorities say Ragalyi got into a car being driven by Steven Lewis Pfalzgraf.

In the process of chasing after the car, Sgt. Baylous says one Parkersburg Police officer was dragged across the pavement.

He says Pfalzgraf then drove the car towards the other Parkersburg Police officer, at which point that officer shot Pfalzgraf.

The shooting occurred in the parking lot outside J.C. Penney and the food court.

Pfalzgraf was able to continue driving, hitting a rock near Outback Steakhouse before stopping in the Toys R Us parking lot.

Sgt. Baylous says that's when the Ragalyis took off.

The officer who was dragged across the pavement was treated at a hospital and was released with minor injuries.

The names of the officers aren't being released at this time.

John Ragalyi's record with the Washington County Sheriff's Office spans 5 years, between 2007 and 2012.

"We've booked him into our facility nine times and he's been charged with breaking and entering, burglary, drug offenses, probation violation," says Sheriff Larry Mincks. "He's just a normal addict who steals to take care of his habit. That's what we found that he did in the past."


UPDATE: 01/14/2014 6:40 PM

The WV State Police confirms one attempted robbery suspect is dead and two turned themselves in.

It started as a purse snatching inside the food court at the Grand Central Mall in Vienna.

Off duty officers happened to be at the mall for a training session, and chased the suspect. The chase went outside into the J.C. Penney/food court parking lot.

At some point, the suspect and two others tried driving away. One officer was dragged in the process, and the other officer fatally shot one suspect.

The suspect was shot by a Parkersburg Police Officer.

Two other two people ran away, but they turned themselves in to Parkersburg Police Tuesday evening.

Their names and the name of the suspect who was fatally shot are not being released at this time.

Stay tuned to WTAP News & TheNewsCenter.TV as well as the WTAP FaceBook & Twitter feeds for the latest as it becomes available.


Update: 1/14/2014 2:00 P.M

Mike Fling, Assistant Superintendent for Wood County Schools, says a number of schools in Vienna and north Parkersburg have been notified of the shooting. However, NO schools are currently on lockdown, and there is a normal dismissal time today.

Fling says the notification was as a precautionary measure because there was concern a suspect may have been in the area of the schools. Schools, he says, have simply been asked to keep people inside. There is no indication of a threat.

The schools involved include Neale, Vienna and Greenmont Elementary schools and Jackson Middle School in Vienna, as well as Parkersburg High School, Worthington, Emerson and Madison Elementary schools.

UPDATE: 01/14/2014

Grand Central Mall officials say the mall is NOT on lockdown.

Portions of the parking lot are blocked off.

UPDATE: 01/14/2014 03:20

The WV State Police confirms one attempted robbery suspect is dead and two are still on the run.

It started as a purse snatching inside the food court at the Grand Central Mall in Vienna.

Off duty officers, happened to be eating there, and chased the suspect. The chase went outside into the parking lot.
At some point, the suspect and two others tried driving away. One officer was dragged in the process, and the other officer fatally shot one suspect.

The suspect was shot by a Parkersburg Police Officer.

Two other two people ran away.
They are described as a tall white man, early 20's with brown hair, wearing a blue shirt.
The other is a woman with blonde hair, worn up in a bun.

Stay tuned to WTAP News & TheNewsCenter.TV as well as the WTAP FaceBook & Twitter feeds for the latest as it becomes available.


Update: 1/14/2014 2:00 P.M

Mike Fling, Assistant Superintendent for Wood County Schools, says a number of schools in Vienna and north Parkersburg have been notified of the shooting. However, NO schools are currently on lockdown, and there is a normal dismissal time today.

Fling says the notification was as a precautionary measure because there was concern a suspect may have been in the area of the schools. Schools, he says, have simply been asked to keep people inside. There is no indication of a threat.

The schools involved include Neale, Vienna and Greenmont Elementary schools and Jackson Middle School in Vienna, as well as Parkersburg High School, Worthington, Emerson and Madison Elementary schools.

UPDATE: 01/14/2014

Grand Central Mall officials say the mall is NOT on lockdown.

Portions of the parking lot are blocked off.


The Wood Co. Sheriff's Office has confirmed a shooting in front of the Vienna Toys "R" Us.

Authorities are securing the scene. Several people are being detained & one person is being taken to the hospital.

WTAP News has a reporter on scene.

Stay tuned to WTAP News & TheNewsCenter.TV as well as the WTAP FaceBook & Twitter feeds for the latest as it becomes available.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
TheNewsCenter One Television Plaza Parkersburg, WV. 26101 304-485-4588
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 240131671