AG office attorney arrested
CHARLESTON – A West Virginia Attorney General’s Office lawyer who had turned in his resignation recently began firing at random at his home before apparently shooting himself during a standoff with Charleston police on Monday, a police chief said.
Mark Bramble, 49, was covered in blood when he was taken into custody more than two hours after the standoff began Monday in the city’s South Hills neighborhood and was taken to a hospital for surgery, Police Chief Brent Webster said.
Webster said Bramble had several weapons, and detectives are trying to determine why he fired multiple rounds inside the house and also shot at police. Webster said an officer returned fire, but the chief wasn’t sure if Bramble was hit. According to Webster, Bramble told paramedics that he had shot himself in the head.
“This is very early in the investigation,” Webster said. “We’ve not been able to interview him yet. The investigation looks like some if not all of his injuries are self-inflicted. It is not clear at all if the officer hit him.”
No officers were injured during the exchange. Bramble’s wife left the home uninjured.
“He was having some problems from the day before and it carried over into today,” Webster said. “She said a lot of it was confusing. She didn’t really understand it. She made some comments that somebody was coming to get him. Clearly she was scared and didn’t understand what was going on.”
Police were called to a disturbance at the home at 9:13 a.m. Monday. The chief said every time officers tried to establish verbal contact with Bramble from across the street, gunfire ensued from the house. Webster said one house across the street had people inside.
After several periods of gunfire, a Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department robot was sent into the home, and images showed Bramble was injured on the first floor of the home. A SWAT team then was sent in, but Webster said Bramble resisted.
“He did not want us in there, but we did get him handcuffed,” Webster said. “We did give him immediate medical attention.”
Bramble’s wife felt “this was out of character for him,” Webster said. “But at the same time, she did give us some explanation of what had been going on the last few days. As we investigate this further, we’ll probably be able to explore that. It’s possible he’d been at the hospital seeking some type of help yesterday.”
Webster didn’t elaborate on what type of help Bramble may have sought.
When Bramble’s wife first called 911, “apparently she’d said early on that he said there’s someone in here trying to get me,” Webster said. “She did not feel he was trying to hurt her. As it went on, he kept firing, shooting the floor, shooting the walls, shooting outside the window. And at that point, she fled and then we showed up.”
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says Bramble was employed in the office’s workers compensation division for the past year and had turned in his resignation notice Thursday. The resignation is effective later this month. Morrisey spokeswoman Beth Ryan said Bramble’s title was assistant attorney general.
According to West Virginia Office of Disciplinary Counsel records, a state Lawyer Disciplinary Board panel admonished Bramble in March 2002 in a matter involving his estranged wife and her boyfriend, who was an inmate at the South Central Regional Jail.
The records said Bramble had gone to the jail in October 2000 to determine whether a former wife from whom he is estranged had maintained contact with the boyfriend. Brramble was involved in a civil abuse and neglect matter involving his young daughter and wasn’t a target of the court proceeding. The records also showed Bramble’s 2-and-a-half year old son had died in January 2000 while in the custody of that estranged wife and boyfriend.
Webster declined comment on that matter but said his office would investigate.