An 8-year-old girl who was shot at Martinsburg’s Fourth of July celebration Wednesday night was an innocent bystander in an argument between two men that turned violent, city police said.
The girl was released from City Hospital in Martinsburg on Thursday after she was treated for flesh wounds to the thigh area of both legs, according to her mother, Mandy Dorsey.
“She’s walking, she’s in really good spirits,” Dorsey said.
Gabriel “Ziggy” McGuire, who was shot twice in the upper back, was treated at City Hospital and released, a hospital spokesman said Thursday.
The alleged shooter, Daniel Lee Herbert, 27, was in Eastern Regional Jail on Thursday night on a $300,000 cash bond set by Berkeley County Magistrate Harry L. Snow, according to jail and court records.
Herbert was arraigned on two counts of malicious wounding, three counts of wanton endangerment and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Herbert, who pleaded guilty to felony counts of aggravated robbery, grand larceny and conspiracy to kidnapping in 2003 in Berkeley County Circuit Court, was released from state prison in February, according to court records.
The shooting, reported at about 8 p.m., occurred just before Stephen Catlett, executive director of Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks & Recreation, said he was about to announce the evacuation of the park because of an approaching storm.
The celebration’s annual fireworks display was later rescheduled for Thursday night after Catlett said he consulted with the Martinsburg Police Department and the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office.
Herbert of 2998 Winchester Ave., Apt. 13, Martinsburg, was captured shortly after gunshots were heard in the area of the park’s south pavilion, near Tennessee Avenue, a police department news release said.
Patrol Officer Scott Shelton caught up with the suspect who was running from the scene toward Tennessee Avenue, police said.
The firearm allegedly used in the shooting, a Rossi .38 Special revolver, was recovered after Shelton saw the defendant throw it into a nearby driveway, according to police and court records.
McGuire was found at a residence along Tennessee Avenue near Memorial Park Avenue, police said.
A witness told police that the shooting took place near a pavilion following an argument between two males. One male, who was wearing a red, polo-style shirt, pulled out a handgun and fired several rounds at the other male, who was running away, police said.
Dorsey said she didn’t know McGuire or Herbert, but acknowledged they were close to the pavilion where family and a few friends had gathered to celebrate.
Her daughter was playing when she was shot, which Dorsey said was “a parent’s worst nightmare.”
“I was shocked, traumatized ... ,” Dorsey said.
Wednesday’s incident marked at least the second time in a decade that the Fourth of July celebration at War Memorial Park was disrupted due to violence.
In 2002, the fireworks display was halted for about 20 minutes after police had to deal with numerous fights that broke out among spectators, according to Herald-Mail archives.
The fireworks resumed after city police, Berkeley County sheriff’s deputies and West Virginia State Police restored order. Two juveniles were arrested, and other combatants were escorted from the park, the newspaper reported.
“You try to put on a nice family event ... people shouldn’t have to worry about something like this,” Catlett said of Wednesday’s shooting.
The incident happened just as the park was starting to get busy, although the heat had lowered the turnout for the annual Fourth of July celebration, Catlett said.
With lightning and hail in the forecast for an approaching storm, Catlett said the decision had been made to announce the evacuation of the park.
“It incidentally happened about the same time (as the shooting),” Catlett said.
He estimated there were about 20 police officers in the park when the shooting occurred.