Search continues for suspect in Sept. 15 fatal Fairmont shooting


FAIRMONT, W.Va. — A man is still at large in relation to a shooting incident that left one man dead in Fairmont on Sept. 15.

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Brian Merchant Jones

According to Detective William Stewart with the Fairmont Police Department, the incident occurred at a residence on Beech Street in Fairmont when Brian Merchant Jones shot Zackerie Howser in the head.

Details into the incident are not being released due to Merchant Jones still being at large and the ongoing investigation, however, Howser was transported to Ruby Memorial Hospital on the date of the incident and pronounced dead days later, Stewart said.

After his death, the chief medical examiner’s office in Charleston performed an autopsy on Howser, according to the Fairmont Police Department.

Investigators with the incident said that Merchant Jones and Howser were friends prior to the incident and that they are not releasing information into what happened during the incident at this time, according to Stewart.

As a result of the incident, a warrant was issued on Sept. 22 for Merchant Jones on the charge of wanton endangerment involving a firearm, but he is still at large at this time, Stewart said. Officers have been searching for Merchant Jones since then.

The warrant was turned over to the U.S. Marshal Service, Stewart stated, and both the Fairmont Police Department and U.S. Marshals are actively seeking information on Merchant Jones’ whereabouts. Anyone with any information is asked to contact at investigators at 304-366-2217.

This incident is unrelated to previous malicious assault charges against Merchant Jones from April 2019, Stewart said.

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