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Aug 20, 5:25 PM EDT
 

Police search for escaped inmate after shooting that left 1 dead

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Authorities on Sunday searched for an escaped Montgomery County Jail inmate after the fatal shooting of an unarmed security guard at the Montgomery Regional Hospital, Blacksburg police said.

Twenty-four-year-old William Charles Morva escaped from the hospital at about 2:30 a.m., after being taken to the emergency room by a sheriff's deputy to seek treatment, said Blacksburg police Lt. Joe Davis.

Morva overpowered the deputy and took his pistol. Shots were fired, killing 26-year-old hospital security guard Derrick McFarland, as he tried to help the deputy. Authorities did not name the deputy who remained in stable condition on Sunday afternoon but was sedated and could not speak with investigators.

The Virginia State Police, Christiansburg police and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office joined the search on foot and in helicopters.

The emergency room at Montgomery Regional Hospital closed after the shooting and later reopened, said Suzanne Barnette, a hospital spokeswoman.

Morva was taken to the hospital in handcuffs and leg irons on the advice of the jail's medical staff after he suffered a sprained wrist and leg, said Sheriff Tommy Whitt.

"We really need to look into it real closely and find out how this happened," Whitt said. "We have an idea, but it's just speculation at this point, and I'd rather not speculate."

Morva was jailed while he awaited trial on charges of trying to rob a Blacksburg deli. Court records show his trial had been continued twice this summer, and the new date was set for 9 a.m. Wednesday.