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Press Release

Charleston felon sentenced to federal prison for illegal gun possession

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Charleston man was sentenced today to three and a half years in federal prison for illegal possession of a firearm, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Dereck Skylar Brown, 33, previously pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

On July 4, 2015, Charleston Police Detectives responded to a shooting at a bar on Leon Sullivan Way and observed Brown leaving the bar immediately after they heard several gunshots from inside the bar. Brown appeared to be concealing something in his waistband as he exited the front door of the bar. Brown ignored the detectives’ commands to stop until after he briefly leaned into an unoccupied vehicle parked with its driver side door open. One detective detained Brown while another looked into the vehicle and observed a Colt .380 semiautomatic pistol on the passenger seat of the vehicle.

The West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory later identified a fingerprint lifted from the pistol’s magazine as having been made by Brown’s right thumb. Brown was prohibited from possessing any firearm under federal law because of his numerous felony convictions, including armed robbery, attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and malicious wounding. 

Three people inside the bar suffered non-fatal gunshot wounds. Through law enforcement’s forensic analysis, Brown was excluded as a suspect in the shooting.

The case against Brown was investigated by the Charleston Police Department’s Street Crimes Unit, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory also provided invaluable assistance to the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Hanks handled the prosecution. United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., imposed the sentence. 

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in the United States by networking existing local programs targeting gun crime. 

Updated October 3, 2016

Project Safe Neighborhoods