Revenge suspected as motive for McDowell shooting
by Jack Latta
McDOWELL — Family members think revenge could be the motive for a shooting in McDowell Tuesday night that resulted in the death of one man and injuries to two others.
Ronald and Loretta Wright, of Fisher Hollow at Printer, allegedly entered the home of Famer and Lorene Halbert, on Halbert Lane at McDowell, Tuesday evening. Famer Halbert was reportedly shot in the head and killed in his bed. Lorene Halbert and Ronald Wright were each shot during the following confrontation.
Lorene Halbert and Loretta Wright are sisters.
Sharon Halbert, Famer Halbert’s sister and neighbor, said at the time of the shooting, the couple had their seven grandchildren in the home. “They came running over here screaming mamaw’s been shot, and papaw was shot in the head.”
Famer Halbert, 54, of McDowell, was pronounced dead by Floyd County Coroner Greg Nelson. Lorene Halbert, 50, of McDowell, was treated and released for a single gunshot wound.
Sharon Halbert believes the shooting stems from the death of the Wrights’ son, Matthew Wayne Wright, who was found dead beneath a train trestle in November. Matthew Wright’s last stop before his untimely demise was at the home of Famer and Lorene Halbert.
“He had stopped there earlier and he was kind of out of it,” Sharon Halbert said of the night Matthew died. “She (Lorene) gave him a bologna sandwich and tried to get him to stay.”
Sharon said Matthew left shortly after, taking a shortcut along the railroad tracks.
“He took the railroad tracks, and they found him in the creek just down from their (the Halberts’) house.”
Sharon Halbert said the Wrights blamed Famer Halbert for what happened.
“They blamed Famer and said Famer had killed him and dumped him up there,” said Halbert.
Sharon Halbert said her brother simply wasn’t capable of such an act. “I’ve never seen Famer mad. He loved them grandbabies to death. He never bothered nobody. Opened his house to anybody. He was just a kind person.”
According to the criminal complaint, Lorene Halbert was in the kitchen when she heard the gunshot that killed her husband. She was then confronted by Ronald Wright, who was pointing a pistol at her. Lorene Halbert advised authorities that Ronald Wright then shot her and a struggle began over the firearm.
During the struggle Ronald Wright was also shot.
Loretta Wright gained control of the weapon and pointed it at Lorene Halbert, who advised officers that she “begged Loretta not to shoot her,” and then another struggle for the weapon ensued. The struggle ended at the front door, and the weapon fell onto the front porch. Loretta Wright picked up the weapon, and she and Ronald Wright fled the scene. The Wrights traveled to St. Joseph Martin Hospital.
Loretta Wright was later arrested and charged with attempted murder and complicity to commit murder. She pleaded not guilty during her arraignment Wednesday morning in Floyd County District Court. Her bond was set at $500,000 cash.
Loretta Wright is currently being housed in the Floyd County Detention Center.
Ronald Wright was located at Saint Joseph hospital with a single gunshot wound. He was later transported to Saint Mary’s Medical Center, in West Virginia.
Warrants for Ronald Wright have been issued for the murder of Famer Halbert and the attempted murder of Lorene Halbert. Because the children were in the home at the time of the shooting, charges of wanton endangerment could also be forthcoming.
The Floyd County Times attempted to interview Loretta Wright in jail, but was told that she had been advised by her attorney to issue no comment.
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