A truck driver is sharing the story of his experience during the shootout on Interstate 79 that left an officer injured in West Virginia last week.
Trucker Justin Gilbert was driving on I-79 past exit 99 at Weston when he noticed an SUV stop across the northbound lanes, blocking traffic.
“It looked like an unmarked cop car, so I figured they were shutting the interstate down for a wreck up over the rise,” Gilbert said to MetroNews.
‘I wasn’t really focused on the SUV or him. There was a cut over in the median and I stopped short of it figuring they would detour us out of there and I would be the first one to cross over. If I hadn’t done that I would have been right up there with him,” Gilbert continued.
Gilbert says that shortly after that, he saw police vehicles approaching the scene, and that’s when the man in the SUV began firing shots.
“I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think he fired a shot until the police started showing up,” he explained.
“The truck right beside of me rolled his window down and motioned to get my attention. He told me, ‘That was a gunshot.’ I told him that’s what I thought and he got to looking around and he said, ‘I believe he hit your truck,’” he said.
Gilbert says he then got out to inspect his truck, found nothing, and went over to speak with some other truck drivers stopped in the traffic, but the conversation didn’t last long.
“We were standing there talking, that’s when he fired another shot. The bullet whizzed by us somewhere within a few inches to a few feet of us. Probably 30 seconds to a minute after that guy fired his last shot, I heard pow, pow, pow, pow, several gunshots in a row. I said, ‘Well , they just killed him.’” he said.
Gilbert was eventually able to get off the highway and pulled into a shopping center to further inspect his truck, and that’s when he noticed the bullet hole. The bullet had gone through the front of his truck between the grill and passenger side headlight and passed through the light assembly before piercing a mudflap on the back of the truck. Gilbert then called police and returned to the scene of the incident to show officers where he had been stopped when the shot was fired.
“We walked up that lane and just about the time I said, ‘I was about right here.’ We looked down and there was a piece of plastic from my headlight and six to eight inches from there was the bullet,” he said.
Officers thanked Gilbert and said that his bullet may be the only one they were able to collect from the scene.
“You see a lot of crazy stuff out here, but this may be top of the list,” Gilbert said.
It is still unclear what prompted the gunman to begin shooting. You can read the news coverage on the incident here.