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Police arrest fugitive in Charleston, recover gun from Kanawha River

GIUSEPPE SABELLA | Gazette-Mail
Officers and divers with the Charleston Police Department along the Kanawha River Monday after finding a handgun in the water.
Dana Stevenson

A fugitive is in federal custody after an encounter with Charleston police on Monday.

Dana Stevenson, 26, is facing charges related to the alleged sale of drugs in Kanawha County, along with the possession of an illegal firearm, according to court records.

On Monday, Stevenson drove an SUV that may be connected to several weekend shootings, said Lt. Steve Cooper, chief of detectives for the Charleston Police Department.

Someone twice shot at the same house near Grandview Elementary School in North Charleston, Cooper said. No injuries were reported.

Police stopped the SUV and Stevenson soon tried to escape, Cooper said.

He said an officer reportedly saw Stevenson throw a gun into the Kanawha River before police arrested him.

Recovery divers found a handgun in the river Monday afternoon. No local charges were filed against Stevenson as of Tuesday afternoon.

Stevenson was wanted on charges of possessing a firearm and selling cocaine, along with five counts of selling heroin.

A 2014 conviction for wanton endangerment made it illegal for Stevenson to possess a firearm.

Still, he carried a .40-caliber Glock handgun in January, according to an indictment filed in U.S. District Court.

He allegedly made two of the heroin sales within 1,000 feet of Stonewall Jackson Middle School, the indictment states.

Authorities booked Stevenson into South Central Regional Jail about 40 minutes after his initial hearing.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Dwane Tinsley assigned attorney Andrew Katz to represent Stevenson, according to a transcript of the hearing.

Stevenson previously served a jail sentence for shooting a man and then running from police.

On Nov. 14, 2013, he pointed a gun at the man and demanded his belongings, according to a criminal complaint.

The man refused and Stevenson shot him in the thigh, records show. Two responding officers then found Stevenson at a railroad trestle near Grant Street.

Stevenson ran, reaching for his waistband as an officer chased him, according to the complaint.

The other officer, fearing for his partner’s life, threw down his radio and joined the pursuit.

They lost sight of Stevenson, but a nearby witness pointed toward a nearby alley, the complaint states. One officer returned to the car and called for backup.

Police eventually arrested Stevenson on Grant Street. The officers also retraced their steps and found a handgun.

Stevenson reportedly said “he was glad the weapon was found, so that no kids were hurt.”

His sentence effectively began in May 2014, and officials released him on parole in August 2016, according to an email from Lawrence Messina, a spokesman for the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

Police again arrested Stevenson in January. They accused him of selling heroin and possessing a handgun, according to a complaint.

Though the state filed a motion to dismiss his charges, Stevenson waived his right to dispute the parole violation, Messina said.

Amid his recent federal charges, Stevenson will undergo arraignment on Monday at 11 a.m. in Charleston.

Reach Giuseppe Sabella at giuseppe.sabella@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5189 or follow @Gsabella on Twitter.

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