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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 21, 2015

Parkersburg man sentenced to federal prison for illegal firearm possession

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Parkersburg man who was shot during his arrest in July of 2014 was sentenced today to seven years in federal prison, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced.  Paul Christopher Johnson, 43, of Parkersburg, West Virginia previously pleaded guilty in February of 2015 to being a felon in possession of a firearm.  On July 15, 2014, officers of the Parkersburg Narcotics and Violent Crimes Task Force attempted to serve Johnson with an arrest warrant as he was in a parked vehicle on Bird Street in Parkersburg.  Johnson got out of his vehicle, pointed a loaded Taurus .45 caliber pistol at police and told them he was “not going back [to prison].”  As officers attempted to convince Johnson to put down the weapon and surrender, he got back into the vehicle and drove away.  Police caught up with him and stopped him at the corner of Plum Street and Washington Avenue.  Johnson again got out of the vehicle and pointed his pistol at the responding officers.  Johnson refused to obey commands to drop the weapon and moved toward the officers while waving the gun. Officers fired and wounded Johnson.  According to his criminal record, Johnson had been previously convicted of the felony offenses of aggravated robbery and third offense shoplifting.  On July 15, 2014, police were attempting to arrest Johnson for a drug trafficking offense.

Because the Parkersburg Police Department and the Wood County Sheriff’s Department were involved in the arrest, this investigation was conducted by the West Virginia State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Hanks handled the prosecution.  The sentence was imposed by United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr.

The case is 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 May 21, 2015