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Teacher among three killed in Doddridge County shooting

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Ritchie County students and faculty on Tuesday were mourning the loss of a seventh-grade science teacher who was allegedly shot and killed, along with her husband and daughter, by their juvenile son on Monday.

Police said three people were shot at a home along W.Va. 18 in West Union in Doddridge County, and a juvenile suspect is in custody. They have not released names of those involved or a possible motive.

Ritchie County school administrators identified one of the victims as Dixie L. Spencer. She taught science at Ritchie County Middle School for many years, said Carolyn Bowie, president of the Ritchie County school board. 

"It's a terrible tragedy for everyone involved and she will really be missed," Bowie said. "It's been a very hard day for staff and students."

Two other victims are believed to be Dixie Spencer's husband, Frederick Spencer, and their young daughter. The couple's juvenile son is the suspected gunman.

Many students learned of the slayings Monday evening from friends on Facebook and Twitter. The high school and middle school are located on the same grounds and many students wore green - Dixie Spencer's favorite color - as a memorial on Tuesday, Bowie said.

Grief counselors were also at both schools and will stay there the rest of the week.

"It's a small county so everyone is mourning together," Bowie said. "I'm just speechless something like that would happen."

Doddridge County Commissioner Ralph Sandora said he knows the family and is praying for them. He confirmed the young daughter attended Doddridge County Middle School and the suspect is a junior at Doddridge County High School. He said counselors were at both schools on Tuesday.

A receptionist at the sheriff's department said Deputy C.W. Modesitt is leading the investigation and was not available for comment Tuesday afternoon. She said more information would most likely not be released until later in the week.

Ritchie County Superintendent Edward Toman and Ritchie County Middle School Principal Michael Dotson would not comment on the shooting.

Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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