Police: Suspect committed suicide

PARKERSBURG – A Parkersburg man who was suspected in the death of another Parkersburg man is believed to have taken his own life, Parkersburg police said Wednesday.

Officers were dispatched to the 1900 block of Staunton Avenue shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday to the report of a deceased subject, Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin said in a press release issued Wednesday.

“Upon arrival, officers spoke with a 59-year-old Vienna resident who was fishing in a canoe and located the deceased body lying on the bank of Worthington Creek,” Martin said in the press release. “The body was identified as Robert Gagliardi, 45, of 616 Lulu St., Parkersburg.”

Gagliardi was under investigation in the recent death of his roommate Daniel Whipkey, 54, 616 Lulu St., Parkersburg, police said.

Around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, officers responded to 616 Lulu St. in reference to a deceased subject, Whipkey. While on scene officers spoke to Gagliardi, who stated that he found his roommate lying on the floor of a bedroom inside the residence and unresponsive, according to the press release.

Gagliardi notified Wood County 911 Center once he discovered that his roommate was not breathing and had no signs of life, police said.

“Gagliardi was interviewed and provided information about Whipkey,” the press release stated. “He said that the two had lived together for the last 12 months.

“The day prior, the two had been drinking and at some point in the day, Whipkey had fallen inside the residence. Gagliardi added that Whipkey didn’t appear to sustain injuries that required him to be treated by EMS at that time. The two remained in the residence throughout the day consuming alcohol until the pair went to bed at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Saturday,” police said.

Gagliardi stated that Whipkey never awoke from his sleep.

Officers observed bruising to Whipkey’s body while at the scene with the Wood County coroner, Mike St. Clair, and could not find any apparent sign or cause of death at the scene, police said.

Whipkey was sent to the Office of the Medical Examiner for an autopsy to be performed.

On Monday, Parkersburg police detectives were in contact with the medical examiner’s office which advised that death was ruled as a homicide, Martin said in the press release.

“The deceased had internal injuries consistent with those received from a beating,” Martin said in the press release. “Detectives interviewed persons that were familiar with Whipkey and Gagliardi and received information that Gagliardi had been violent toward Whipkey in the past.

“Based on those interviews, our detectives believe that Gagliardi was made aware that the (Parkersburg Police Department) was investigating the death as a homicide,” police said.

On Tuesday around 9:30 a.m., Gagliardi apparently went to an acquaintance’s residence and stole a 9mm pistol, police said. After the theft, at around 11 a.m., he contacted a neighbor and asked him to take care of his pets, police said.

At that time, Gagliardi was last seen walking toward the 1900 block of Staunton Avenue, where his body was later discovered on the bank of Worthington Creek, police said.

“Evidence at the scene revealed that Gagliardi had taken his own life,” Martin said in the press release. “The evidence revealed that Gagliardi had one, self inflicted, gunshot wound and a 9mm handgun, later identified as the same stolen pistol from earlier in the day, was the weapon found at the scene.”