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Autopsy shows W.Va. man shot himself, police say

| Sunday, Nov. 5, 2006

A West Virginia man died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Friday after killing his estranged wife, shooting a state trooper, critically injuring his father-in-law and setting his own house on fire, West Virginia state police said Saturday.

"It looks like it's going to be domestic-related -- a senseless killing," said state police Capt. G.M. Gaskins.

Firearms were found in the smoldering house, but Gaskins said none are believed to have belonged to the victims.

James Fluharty, 49, of unincorporated Brooke County, near Wellsburg, W.Va., died from a single, apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, state police announced following an autopsy yesterday by the state medical examiner in Charleston, W.Va.

Brooke County Sheriff Richard Ferguson had said his estranged wife, Tina Fluharty, 46, was shot in the back several times while talking with an emergency dispatcher. She called at 11:36 a.m. asking for help.

Her father, William Bernadini, 70, had been shot multiple times. He was in critical condition yesterday at UPMC Presbyterian, state police said.

State Trooper Blaine Henderson was treated for a minor gunshot wound to the shoulder at Weirton Medical Center and released Friday.

Neighbors said the Fluhartys had married about six years, but separated several months ago when Tina Fluharty moved out. James Fluharty's teenage son from a previous marriage moved out several weeks ago, they said.

Law enforcement authorities said a family court order was imminent that would allow Tina Fluharty to move back in and force her husband to leave as well as divide other assets.

Tina Fluharty arrived unexpectedly at the house Friday with her parents to pick up some of her belongings, according to law enforcement officers. Her body was found in the backyard, her hand still clutching a cell phone. Her father was lying next to her.

James Fluharty had spared his mother-in-law, yelling at her to get in her car and leave, Ferguson had said.

Fluharty fired two shots at responding county and state police officers, striking Henderson. Police said officers fired two shots back but did not hit him.

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