ANALYSIS: Why Community Involvement Needed: Suspect Fires Gun, Rips Open Heroin in Police Car

Updated 1 year ago by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor
OD in progress.
OD in progress.
Anonymous FB photo courtesy of David Williams

Huntington police apprehended a 24-year-old man in the 1400 block of 28th Street who allegedly during an argument fired a 38 revolver at another man. The suspect identified as Aubrey Sharnell Gardner tossed the gun and ran. After his arrest by Huntington police, he ripped open a baggie containing 15.5 grams of heroin and emptied it in the back seat of a police car. The suspect had another baggie containing additional heroin.

He's now in the Western Regional Jail on a $100,000 bond for wanton endangerment and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Unbelievably, the incident around 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning represents one of the documented arrests in Huntington. Gazing through social media and walking or riding around the city, often unreported transaction incidents occur.

For instance, on Saturday afternoon about 6 p.m. while traveling between Adams Avenue and Jackson Avenue on Tenth Street a truck brought traffic to a near stop. A door opened and a woman hopped out of the Kentucky licensed vehicle and raised her hand signaling my driver to be patient.

After the dark haired middle age woman took off, the truck ambled through a few more stop signs before turning.

Sometime on Sunday, a witness observed two OD's on Madison Avenue. The witness said the female appeared lifeless but revived.

The photo originated from the Madison Avenue OD.  Since its a wide view , we are publishing it. The OD occurred in public.

A comment reads: "They're out in the wide open laying on the ground overdosed. For the world to see. Probably lying to somebody about their addiction. Some can say it's a violation of privacy but I say it just might help somebody."

Others recalled one or more victims asking them for "change." Accompanying "so sad and so senseless," another disregarded the suffering addict stating, "the dog needs water."

The result of that comment triggered disdain:

"One of these comments is horrendous and I have to ask myself if the person was a close friend or relative how would they feel? Anyone that's had any study in addiction knows it takes an average of seven times rehab before they've kicked the problem for good. Just think if the "3-strike rule, your out"; shame on you. Secondly this is a disease mandated by the CDC in 2011."

Another laid out the taxpayer impact of overdoses i.e. Narcan:

"We are paying money out of our pockets to support peoples life who don't give a damn. If you talked to some of these JUNKIES in Huntington then maybe you'd see where we are coming from. It cost a lot of money for one naracan shot & these ignorant dumb asses out here take it all for granted; overdosing more than once & costing us millions of dollars. Not to mention all the poor little babies out here, learning to grow up like this. I say give them one naracan & mark them after. If they do it again; that's their problem, let them go..."

The reaction and continued spreading of substance abuse related issues --- including the scary trend of drivers shooting up and causing accidents --- demands a step-up in community awareness.

Arresting "our" way out of it has not worked. The cost of jailing the inmates comes from the community, too. Those escaping incarceration --- and not forced to go into a recovery program --- often do it again and again.

As for the 'sellers,' they have been said to move on out of Huntington, while others move in to take their place.

The DEA360 training session on Friday at the Cabell Huntington Health Department (see separate story) is for anyone interested in taking back their community.

Huntington is only one of hundreds of ground zeroes in the war on substance abuse. West Virginia's legislature just approved the creation of a "drug policy" bureau similar to Huntington Mayor Steve Williams  Office of Drug Control Policy.

Watching out for your neighbors, unfortunately, goes beyond alerting to a fire, guarding against break ins, paying attention to kids and animals that have broken loose, and providing a helping hand for those hindered by physical or mental conditions.

Twice when I had an irishsetter in a fenced yard, the smart red snuggle bunny found ways to take a solo journey. Once, a call came from a neighbor about one half block away: "Do you have a red dog? I started inside my house and he came in and jumped on to my couch?"  In another instance, an employee of a commercial establishment about four blocks away chained the dog, recognizing both his "name and who to call" but prompting proactive action to prevent the pet from becoming road waste.

Reporting substance abuse does not have the welcoming overjoyed 'thank you' as a the recipient of a runaway irishsetter "I found him" call. Instead, the reaction can be negative or threatening... those dealing drugs do not want to be identified.

For that matter, I once 'practiced' learning to use a phone cam at a gas station. Unknowingly, I caught a user in the photo leading to the driver hurriedly speeding away as the man holding an object approached.

It's scary out there used to mean small sections of Huntington, but the circle continues widening. Looks like even more people must work together to lessen the insanity of shooting up.





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