Chief Deputy Coffman on the road to recovery

BUCKHANNON— Upshur County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Mike Coffman is home and recovering after taking a bullet in his thigh two weeks ago during an active shooting in Lewis County on Thursday, June 16. 

Chief Deputy Coffman recounted the events of that day and shared, “I was assisting Lewis County Sheriff’s Department on an active shooter on I-79 near the 99-mile marker. Once I got there, I focused on getting as many people as possible in the northbound lane out of harm’s way. Just after I completed that I was running back to my patrol vehicle to retrieve my long gun to assist other units with the suspect. As I ran back to my patrol car, I heard a gunshot and felt it hit my thigh. I accessed the wound and made it to my patrol vehicle to let the other units know I was hit and get EMS in route to get medical attention. Lewis County Sheriff Dave Gosa ran to my aid and put me in the back of my patrol car. Assistant OEM Director and Buckhannon Volunteer Fireman Derek Long ran and jumped in the driver’s seat and transported me to meet EMS at the bottom of the exit ramp as we knew EMS would be in danger to get to our location. We were ahead of EMS at meeting point, so I advised Derek to continue as fast as he could to Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital.” 

Chief Deputy Coffman also said that once he was in the patrol car on the way to the hospital his priority was to alert his wife Amy and his children, who were vacationing in Outer Banks, N.C. “I did not want her to read about what happened on social media or someone to call her. I figured if she heard my voice telling her I was shot, it would keep her calmer than getting a call from someone else.” 

“When we arrived at the hospital, the medical staff was waiting on our arrival. They rushed to my aid and began treatment immediately. After examination and x-rays, I was taken to surgery which lasted approximately one hour. The gunshot was a .308 caliber rifle which entered in front of my thigh and exited in the back. I was very lucky the bullet missed the all the major blood vessels and bone. The muscle that runs down the side of my leg was damaged by the bullet and had to be repaired by the surgeon. Currently, I can’t bend my leg or put any weight on my leg. I am hoping to be able to begin physical therapy relatively soon. My doctor is telling us that recovery will be slow to ensure a full recovery,” said Chief Deputy Coffman. 

It was also noted that Chief Deputy Coffman did have a past injury while working on the job revealing that he once had to have stitches so “it was definitely nothing compared to this injury,” as he stated.

Chief Deputy Coffman also revealed that the support from the community and surrounding communities has been amazing. “I have received so many messages, visitors, cards, and phone calls. My family has also received food from many different people and overwhelmed with offers of other assistance. My daughters’ friends have been great. Their parents have given Sarah rides to and from practices and activated to get her out of the house. My son who is 18 years old has really stepped up to take care of the chores, like mowing, that I am unable to do. This has allowed my wife to stay with me,” he said. 

When questioned, “Do you have any tips for safety for community members to take if faced with a similar situation?,” he replied… “I really hope no one from the public finds themselves in a similar situation but if they would, I would just recommend getting distance between yourself and danger. I wish I could say that we will not be faced with this kind of situation but unfortunately our state and surrounding area has seen its share of danger like this in the recent past. A couple weeks prior to this incident I went to Charleston, W.Va. to assist in escorting the fallen Nicholas County Deputy back to Nicholas County and then attending funeral services for him. Another Nicholas County Deputy was also shot in that same incident. That was definitely racing through my mind during all this. I was also on the call approximately one year ago in Lewis County where a suspect attempted to take a hostage and was fatally shot by officers. We like to think we are in Upshur County W.Va. and this won’t happen here. It is definitely here in North Central W.Va.”  

The Record Delta would like to extend our gratitude to Chief Deputy Coffman and all other law enforcement, first responders, and other emergency personnel for putting their lives on the line to keep us and our communities safe.


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