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Couple Fighting For Compensation After Home Riddled With Bullets During Police Standoff

Reported by: Send eMail Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Nov. 20, 2013 10:09 PM EST
Updated: Nov. 20, 2013 11:35 PM EST


Bullet Riddled House
Eyewitness News Photo

Craigsville , Nicholas County , West Virginia

Shot up and still no help - A home in Nicholas County still has dozens of bullet holes months after a summer police standoff.

In July, two Nicholas County sheriff's deputies were shot during a standoff in Craigsville. The deputies survived, but the suspect, John Evans, 84, was killed.

During the standoff, Rick and Sonja Cool's home was hit with dozens of bullets. They said they were promised compensation, but still have not received any help.

"You see the tape, it's a daily reminder of what happened. Almost five months later, we still have to look at this every single day," Sonja Cool said, as she pointed out dozens of bullet holes scattered throughout her home.

They are a painful reminder of the past the couple said they are ready to put behind them.

Sonja called 911 on July 6, after Evans allegedly pointed a shotgun at her husband, Rick, as he was leaving their home.

"He's got a shotgun, still walking around in the front yard with it," she told a 911 dispatcher during the call.

She's on the line for several minutes, waiting for police to arrive, warning them that Evans may try to fire at the police when they showed up. That's when she said she saw a Nicholas County deputy get shot by Evans.

"The cops here, and there's shots fired and I think he may have shot or hit the cop or something!" she said to the dispatcher.

Two deputies were shot responding to the call. Officers from six other agencies tried unsuccessfully to get Evans to cooperate. A five-hour standoff ensued with the Cools' home caught in the crossfire.

Cell phones video captured by someone in the area shows dozens of police on scene, as shots rang out.

For more than an hour, the Cools said they sat inside their home with their two children, at the request of a 911 dispatcher, with their doors locked. Eventually, an officer noticed they were inside and ordered them into the woods, where they said they sat for hours before getting word from a neighbor that Evans was dead.

They returned to their home to find it riddled with bullets.

"We've counted 50 going in on this end," Rick Cool said, pointing out the holes in the side of his home.

"The place was just in total disarray," Sonja said.

"I asked a trooper, 'Is there a unit or someone you can send in to help us get this cleaned up?' And his response was, 'I suggest you get to cleaning,' " she said.

They've enlisted the help of an attorney to get the compensation they said they were told they'd received, but have yet to see any resolution.

"We don't care who pays it, what agency pays it, what insurance pays it, we just want them to pay it and get it done. Obviously this family did nothing wrong," attorney Kathy Brown said.

Eyewitness News was not able to reach Nicholas County Prosecuting Attorney P.K. Milam at his office on Wednesday, but he recently told the Charleston Gazette that there has been a claim filed with the county's insurer, but he's not sure why it took so long to do so.

West Virginia State Police said it can't comment on the matter because of any potential lawsuit.

As of Wednesday, no lawsuits have been filed.

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