Suicide at I-77 rest stop probed

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a suspected self-inflicted fatal shooting at the Interstate 77 rest area north of Marietta.

Earl Johnson, of Beverly, was found dead around midnight Tuesday in a bathroom stall, according to Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

There was a note with him, he said.

Mincks said a 911 call came in from the caretaker of the site, who said he had noticed the man go into the building but never come out and went to check on him.

“With the assistance of the Highway Patrol we conducted an investigation and found out the guy had left home and his wife indicated he was a little despondent,” Mincks said. “We found him with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.”

Though there was nothing to indicate the death was not a suicide, gunshot residue tests were completed on both Johnson and the rest stop caretaker, he said.

“We gathered forensics and we’ll complete a full investigation,” Mincks said.