Feb 17

Lawsuit filed over State Police shooting death:

Donna Spry called her husband’s doctor, crying.

Curly Spry was refusing to go to his appointment. He was suicidal, off his medication and had a gun, his wife said.

Call 911, the doctor’s staff instructed her.

Less than an hour later, Curly Spry was dead. He had been shot 11 times by troopers with the West Virginia State Police, according to a lawsuit filed by Donna Spry last month in Kanawha County Circuit Court.

Along with the State Police, she is suing its superintendent Col. Jay Smithers, Sgt. R.L. Frye and Trooper Silas Belt.

Donna Spry was on the phone with 911 dispatchers while her husband was shot, according to the lawsuit.

Her attorney, Ben White, of Chapmanville, says the recorded 911 call is the worst thing he’s ever heard.

The 21-minute call proves, the lawsuit claims, that Belt and another trooper, who has not yet been identified, walked into the Sprys’ home and almost immediately began shooting.

In fact, according to the lawsuit, it is only 23 seconds from the time the troopers first step inside the home until the sounds of gunshots ring out.

Lawrence Messina, spokesman for the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, didn’t want to comment Friday on pending litigation.

At the time of the incident, State Police told media outlets that Curly Spry had pointed a gun at troopers, who then fired to protect themselves.

Donna Spry had called 911 to request an ambulance come to the couples’ Harts Creek residence to transport her husband to his doctor’s appointment, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit states that Curly Spry had no idea that his wife had called 911 or that police were at the house.

Curly Spry was “delusional and crying,” his wife told dispatchers. He had been depressed over the recent death of his mother, according to Donna Spry.

He also hadn’t taken the medications he was prescribed for depression, panic attacks and anxiety, the lawsuit states.

The couples’ daughter, Britney Spry, who was 17 when her dad died, is also named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Donna and Britney Spry claim they were standing beside the bed Curly Spry was allegedly laying in when he was shot.

The Sprys allege the troopers came into their house without permission. They wore full tactical gear and had weapons in hand when they entered, according to the complaint.

Curly Spry was shot in the head and chest, the lawsuit states. The lawsuit asks that the mother and daughter be awarded $11 million — a million for each time Curly Spry was shot. The State Police’s insurance provides up to a million dollars per incident, attorney White said.

“After the shooting ceased, Defendant Belt recognized that plaintiff Donna M. Spry was on [a] telephone call and immediately, intentionally, willfully and forcibly took the telephone and disconnected the call,” the complaint states.

“A Logan County 911 Center Dispatcher advised responding troopers that ‘they made that female hangup from the line.’”

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