by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor
Capt. Dial Wants to "Put Violent People in Cages for a Long Time" and Let them Know "Huntington's not a profitable place to Sell Drugs and Fight About It."

Huntington Police Captain Hank Dial stated again at a hastily called press conference Tuesday afternoon in Mayor Steve Williams office --- the best way to combat a surge in violent crime is "put violent people in cages. We did that today..." (referring to the rapid apprehension of a suspected murderer). "The people who are violent in this town, we will apprehend them ... and put them in a cage for a long time."

Dial continued, "When you looked out there today, there were uniforms of all colors when we made that arrest." He added, long term "as we get more resources, we will develop more innovative ways to put them in jail and curb them from coming here in the first place."  The bad guys must learn "Huntington is not a profitable place to sell drugs and fight about it." 

The news conference followed a homicide on Tuesday morning , at which Huntington City Council Chairman  Mark Bates announced  a  Special Call Council Meeting for Wednesday , Dec. 13 at  5 p.m. in Council Chambers at Huntington City Hall where   Mayor Steve Williams will present an "action plan" to address the city's record murder/homicide rate.

During a news conference, Mayor Williams thanked law enforcement for response in "challenging times."  Williams emphasized that the city is protected by multiple agencies at the city, state and federal level, ranging from the Marshall University Police Department and Cabell County Sheriff's Department to the WV State Police and federal working relationships with the F.B.I., the A.T.F.  the D.E.A., and U.S. Attorneys Office. Cabell County Prosecutor Corky Hammers and a representative of the HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas), for which Huntington City Council on Monday accepted  a $50,000 non-matching grant.

"We are doing everything in our power to keep (the public) safe," Williams said, as officers from additional law enforcement agencies stood strongly behind him as a "show of force." He promised to utilize "every resource under the sun" to bring down violent crime, adding "we will bring unmitigated hell" (to those responsible).

 

On Monday, the city recorded a homicide in the morning  on Fifth Avenue and a shooting that evening by an apartment on Fourth Avenue.

The Tuesday morning , Dec. 12 shooting at Huntington Mart Convenience Store and Gas in the 1100 block of Hal Greer resulted in a lock down of four Huntington schools as police tracked a suspect.

About 1:30 p.m. HPD with assistance from other departments, arrested Antwon Starkey, 30, of Huntington, who is  charged with murder. The victim,   KaFredrick "Bae Bae" McEachin, 25, died outside a Huntington gas station, where Starkey chased him. The victim fell and eyewitness report that the suspect shot him.

Capt. Hank Dial indicated that detectives had been working 72 hours non-stop when the shooting occurred. Some officers left an FOP Christmas party to secure the scene.

McEachin, a 2012 graduate of HHS, had a strong following among former athletes. He had been indicted in February 2015 for possession of a controlled substance.

The Herald Dispatch reported the shooting becomes the city's 18th homicide in 2017 and the 20th homicide investigation.

Dial has compared the city's fears about drug violence to national fears about ISIS terrorism.

"I want to assure you we do not take our foot off the gas pedal," he said.

Both Dial and Mayor Williams mentioned short term solutions and alluded to long term solutions. Since it takes about 18 months to train new officers, one part of the plan may be to lure experienced officers back to duty.

Currently, the low numbers have required depletion of numbers among the detective and drug units.

Community involvement greatly assisted in securing the rapid arrest of the suspect who ran after allegedly killing the victim.

Cabell County Sheriff has promised to stand by the city's side "till the bitter end," adding, "We're going to have to do some different things and come up with some different ideas, and a lot of that hinges solely on the back of the public."

Capt. Dial has been filling in for Huntington Police Chief Joe Ciccarelli who is ill.