Shooting witness: 'I'll never be the same'
CHARLESTON, West Virginia (CNN) -- The woman who called 911 after a fatal shooting at a convenience store last week said she had planned to buy gas when she arrived changed her mind just minutes before another woman was gunned down at one of the gas pumps.
Speaking to CNN's Jeanne Meserve, the witness -- who did not provide her name -- said she went inside the store to buy coffee instead, and noticed two trucks in front of the Speedway store, neither of which matched police descriptions.
Minutes later Thursday, Jeanie Patton, 31, was killed about 10:30 p.m. at that Speedway filling station on Campbell Creek Road south of Charleston. An hour later, Okey Meadows, 26, was fatally shot at a Go-Mart on U.S. 60 east of the city.
The shootings came on the heels of a similar attack: Gary Carrier, 44, was shot in the head just after 11 p.m. Aug. 10 while using a pay phone outside a Go-Mart store on the west side of Charleston.
Authorities are still uncertain whether the three were randomly chosen or linked in some way.
As she paid the Speedway cashier for her coffee, the witness said, she heard what sounded like a firecracker.
The cashier then asked what happened to a woman he had spotted filling up her red sports car with gas, noting that she seemed to have bent down to pick something up.
At that point, the witness went outside and found Patton bleeding from her head, which lay on the island between gas pumps.
The witness ran inside, told the cashier to call 911 and returned to the victim, who still had a pulse and seemed to be trying to tell her something.
"She didn't want me to leave her," the witness said. "She grasped up and down my arm" before she died about three minutes later.
"I'll never be the same," the witness said. Patton was scared and confused but "I don't think she was in pain."
She wants Patton's family to know that she wasn't alone when she died, and said she plans to talk to them soon.
The witness said Patton's fiancÚ arrived at the scene of the shooting, and she had to tell him what happened.
Although the motives behind the shootings are still unclear, Kanawha County Chief Deputy Phil Morris said many residents suspect they may be drug-related.
"In this area there are a lot of drugs that have been bought and sold, and the public is concerned," Morris added, saying the main drug trade revolves around methamphetamines.
However, the witness -- who said she knows the other victim shot and killed Thursday night -- disputed that.
She said Okey Meadows had worked for her when she ran a temporary employment agency, and described him as vivacious, well-mannered, and a dependable, hard worker.
She said Meadows had worked as an electrician and she never saw any indication he had anything to do with drugs.