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Community Still in Shock Over Shooting, Standoff in Coalton
Written by Lindsey Burnworth
Last updated on December 06, 2012 @ 11:16AM
Created on December 05, 2012 @ 6:18PM
 
Things seemed back to normal in the small town of Coalton on Wednesday. But that wasn't the case just 24 hours before, when 911 was first called by a woman who had been apparently been shot twice. 
 
That woman, 49 year old Elizabeth Smith had driven back to a family member's home in Coalton after she was supposedly shot in her car by her ex-husband, 52 year old Jeffrey Zirkle. Smith was flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital where she remains in critical condition. 
 
"A lot of paramedics, HealthNet landed, a lot of police officers," said Coalton resident, Donald Riffle, explaining Tuesday's scene. "Then I heard Jeff Zirkle had shot Beth Smith."
 
"It's really sad she got shot in the back of the head. It was horrifying," said Ian Kelley, also of Coalton.
 
That's when police started the search for the suspect.
 
They headed to Zirkle's residence on Jimtown Road, where they engaged in a standoff with him. Around 6:00 p.m. Zirkle came out of his home with a weapon, and posed a treat to officers on scene. He was then shot and killed by a trooper. 
 
24 hours later, people all over town were still in shock over the events that unfolded.
 
"It's kind of crazy. We see Beth, I pass her all the time, and she's a pretty nice person," said Kelley.
 
"Something that never happens around this area, you just never know anymore. Of course, we had an incident like this back in the late '80's, but I never thought it would happen again, but it sort of shocked the community," said Riffle.
 
The nearby Coalton School was also put on lockdown for a few hours as a precaution, but Randolph County Superintendent, Dr. James Phares, said the kids were safe and accounted for the entire time.
 
State police are still investigating the situation and a report will be given to the Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney's office.
 
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