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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lynchburg Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Gun Charge

Shawn Preston Admits to Illegally Possessing a Firearm

LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA – A Lynchburg man, who illegally possessed a firearm after being a previously convicted felon, pled guilty today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Lynchburg to a federal firearms charge, United States Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr. announced today.

Shawn Vernol Preston, 54, of Lynchburg, pled guilty today to one count of unlawful transport of a firearm. Preston will be sentenced on November 15, 2016.

“It has been a priority of my office to work with our law enforcement partners, on the local, state and federal levels, to rid our communities of illegal firearms,” United States Attorney Fishwick said today. “We remain committed to prosecuting those individuals who are prohibited from possessing firearms, which we believe will, in turn, make our communities safer.”

According to evidence presented at today’s guilty plea hearing by United States Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr., on December 18, 2015 at around 7:39 p.m., Preston was approached by a Lynchburg Police Officer after he matched the physical description of someone who was reported to be seen with a gun. When Preston was approached by the officer, he refused to be patted down and eventually took off running.

A foot chase ensued and the Lynchburg police officer observed Preston reach into the front waistband of his pants and pull out a pistol with a silver slide. Preston ran behind a row of houses. The officer did not pursue him because she was alone and the lighting was poor. After additional units arrived, Preston emerged from behind the houses without the gun. He was arrested and placed in handcuffs. After searching behind the homes where Preston ran, another officer with the Lynchburg Police Department located a loaded, .45 silver pistol with a black grip lying on the ground.

The investigation of the case was conducted by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Lynchburg Police Department. United States Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr. and Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh prosecuted the case for the United States.

Updated August 23, 2016