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Press Release

Roanoke Rapids Man Sentenced to More Than 21 Years for Firearm Crime

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. – A Roanoke Rapids man was sentenced today to 262 months imprisonment for being a felon in possession of a firearm during a March 23, 2018 shooting incident.

According to court documents, Brian Lee Dunlow, 46, was named in a Superseding Indictment filed on October 9, 2019 charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm (2 counts), possession of a stolen firearm, and possession of a firearm in violation of a domestic violence protective order.  Dunlow pled guilty to the first count of Possession of a Firearm by a Felon on January 24, 2020.

On March 23, 2018 officers with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home in Spring Hope, NC in response to a shots fired call.  Dunlow came home unexpectedly and found his girlfriend moving out, with the assistance of four men from her church who had volunteered to help pack and load a moving truck.  Dunlow became upset, pulled a gun and pointed it at the face of one of the men from the church.  Dunlow fired a shot at close range but missed.  The man, a former corrections officer who was licensed to carry, drew his own gun and returned fire, wounding Dunlow. 

Several weeks later, on May 5, 2018, officers from the Roanoke Rapids Police Department responded to a call from the home of Dunlow’s mother, where Dunlow was living at the time, while recovering from the injuries he suffered during the March 23, 2018 shooting.  Officers learned that Dunlow had stolen a firearm from his mother’s bedroom and held his mother and his wife hostage for approximately four hours.  During the incident, Dunlow threatened his wife and struck her in the face and head with a cane, and caused a cut on his mother’s arm.  Dunlow fled in his mother’s car, but was apprehended soon after, with a loaded revolver in the car.

Due to an extensive criminal history that includes qualifying predicate convictions, Dunlow was determined to be an armed career criminal and thereby subject to an enhanced sentence under the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 924(e).

Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III accepted the plea and sentenced Dunlow. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), the Nash County Sheriff’s Office, and the Roanoke Rapids Police Department are investigating the case and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charity Wilson and Bryan Stephany are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on our website. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:18-CR-48-D1.


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Updated May 22, 2020

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