UPDATE: Community, Fayette County Sheriff React to Berry Street Homicide


1:36 p.m. Monday, April 17, 2017 UPDATE:

Fayette County Sheriff Mike Fridley announced on Monday afternoon that an autopsy has confirmed that Janet Garrett was murdered.   Anyone with information on the crime can leave anonymous tips with CrimeStoppers of West Virginia by calling 304-255-STOP (7867) or by going online to the CrimeStoppers WV web site.  Information can also be left on your phone or mobile device by using the P3 Tips App.  There could be a reward for tips that lead to an arrest.

UPDATE (April 16, 2017 7:15 p.m. by Joe Putrelo)

The community of Berry Street near Oak Hill started Easter 2017 with flashing lights and frightening news. 

Janet Garrett, 48, who was a woman living on their street, was shot dead in her home around 1:30 a.m. Sunday April 16, 2017. Those who knew her well like long time friend, Kozette Malay, are left heart broken and wondering what could have been the motive. 

“Overall she was a real good person,” Malay said. “I can’t believe someone would go into someone’s house and do that. Especially to her. Her kids, I can only imagine how they feel.”

Investigators said two men with a gun and knife forced their way into Garett’s home and shot her in the chest. 

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department, Oak Hill Police and EMS crews quickly arrived to the scene.

“I heard a pounding on our back door,” Bubbie Smith, a Berry Street resident of decades, said. “I went to the door and there was several cops there that asked me if I heard a shot.”

Smith said he grew up on Berry Street. He has security cameras set up around his home that could be crucial to the investigation.  The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department collected the footage from Smith and have not released it as of Sunday. 

“One of them was leaving the residence by the camera that we could see right now running at approximately 1:30, 1:32 a.m. the same morning and getting into a car that we can’t tell until we have the video enhanced. ,” Fayette County Sheriff Mike Fridley said. 

Residents of Berry Street said this shooting is not an isolated incident, that through the years the rate of crime has dramatically increased in the area 

“We don’t know what we’re gonna do,” Smith said. “Can’t sit on your porch half the time. Can’t do a whole lot at night time at all.”

“This area’s getting real bad,” Malay added. “There’s a lot of stuff that goes on.”

An autopsy is expected to be done on Garrett Monday April 17, 2017, while investigators continue to look for a motive in this shooting.  Detectives are still searching for the suspects. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department.

UPDATE: The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department said the name of the victim who died from the gunshot is Janet Garrett.

Deputies are still on the hunt of the two suspects involved. More information to come.

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an apparent homicide in the Oak Hill area.

At around 1:30 a.m. (4/16), Fayette County 911 Center responded to a call regarding a woman who had been shot at a home on Berry Street, just outside of Oak Hill. Local law enforcement and EMS from General Ambulance responded to the scene, where they found a 48 year-old woman had died from an apparent gunshot wound to the chest. At the time, there were also two other people inside of the home who were unharmed. 

Detectives said two men wearing ski masks, one armed with a handgun and the other armed with a large knife, broke into the residence. The man with the handgun shot the victim in the chest, then both suspects fled from the residence on foot. The victim’s body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Charleston, WV where an autopsy is expected to be performed on Monday (4/17). 

There is no apparent motive for the crime at this time. “In this case however, the suspects made no apparent attempt to search for money or drugs. They forced entry into the home, shot the victim and fled without saying anything,” said Sheriff Mike Fridley.

The Prosecuting Attorney, Larry Harrah has decided to not released the victim’s name at this time.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact the Fayette County 911 Center at (304) 574-3590 or Crime Stoppers of West Virginia. You may also submit information through the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Fayette-County-Sheriffs-Department-186902037992621/

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