UPDATE: FBI now assisting in investigation of Huntington, WV fat - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: FBI now assisting in investigation of Huntington, WV fatal officer-involved shooting

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The FBI has been called in to assist in the investigation of a fatal officer-involved shooting in Huntington, WV. According to a news release issued by police, Officer Ronnie Lusk shot and killed Robert Henderson of Michigan after he walked into the El Ranchito Mexican Bar and Grill and began waving a gun around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 26. 

Officer Lusk went into the bar and ordered Henderson to not move. Henderson did not comply with the order, according to police, and moved. This is when Officer Lusk shot and killed him, according to the same news release.

Officer Lusk has now been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation into the shooting is ongoing.



The manager of El Ranchito tells 13 News he wants the public to know that El Ranchito Mexican Bar and Grill is a family-owned, family-friendly business, and that his staff did all they could to protect others when an unruly patron demanded alcohol and brandished a gun.

"He came in here asking for drinks. We denied him, because he was so drunk, or on drugs. I don't know what he was on," says a manager who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation. "So he was like, 'I got heat.' That's what he told me. Then he showed me the gun."

That man was Robert Henderson, 37, of the Detroit area, according to Huntington Police.

The manager says Henderson displayed his weapon, and even threatened other customers who tried to calm him down.

Police say about 15 others were in the bar when they responded to El Ranchito at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

"I told my bartender, 'Give him a shot.," says the manager. "I grabbed another girl, and told her to go upstairs and call the cops, and not to come down until everything's done. That's what she did, and that's when the cops arrived."

A Huntington Police officer and a West Virginia State Trooper responded.

Upon arrival, police say there were about 15 other people in the bar, which was about to close.

Interim Police Chief, Jim Johnson, told the media this afternoon at a press conference that "Officers repeatedly told the subject to keep his arms raised and do not move. The subject did not comply with the officers."

Chief Johnson says when Henderson made a move, one of the two responding officers shot and killed Henderson.

Bar staff tell 13 News' Ben Nandy that the officer shot Henderson twice, and Henderson did not shoot back.

Another officer who responded after the shooting could not reveal much except to say "this was a justified shooting."

The HPD officer who shot Henderson has been placed on administrative leave until the department's internal investigation is complete.

The FBI has also been called in to assist.

Usually, El Ranchito closes just after 10 p.m., according to staff, but stayed open late the last two weekends to accommodate patrons who requested to hold a party at the bar.

Managers tell us that the owner met with the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission of West Virginia, and agreed to shut down El Ranchito for ten days, with the possibility of reopening earlier because investigators do not believe the staff or owners did anything wrong.

El Ranchito has been in business for about a year, according to the manager, and they have never experienced a shooting.

The Huntington Police Department were called to the scene of a reported brandishing of a weapon along the 2000 block of Third Avenue just before 12:30 a.m. Saturday. Police searched the area, but found nothing.

Around 1:30 a.m. both the Huntington Police Department and the West Virginia State State Police were called to a second reported brandishing call at the El Ranchito Mexican Bar and Grill along the 2000 block of Third Avenue.

Once police officers arrived on scene, they noticed several people arguing. During the argument, police said they noticed a man with a firearm visible. The man was ordered not to move and police said he did not comply with their orders.

A Huntington Police Department officer fired his weapon in response. 

The man, who police identify as Robert Henderson, 37, of Michigan, was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.

The Huntington Police Department will hold a news conference Saturday at 2 p.m. to release more information on this developing story.

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