NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Newport News Police confirm their department was involved in an exchange of gunfire Tuesday in Port Warwick.
Police Chief Steve Drew spoke to the media and detailed the series of events that unfolded.
He said his department was working with James City County police to locate 22-year-old Deston Coward, who was wanted out of James City and York counties and considered armed and dangerous.
Officers located Coward at an apartment complex in Port Warwick Tuesday and instructed him to stop. Instead, he took off running and officers gave chase.
People who work nearby tell 10 on Your Side Coward tried to get into their workplaces.
“Our daycare staff was walking dogs, saw a man trying to suspiciously go into the back doors of our buildings, so they came in, let us know what was happening, hung out with us for a few and we peeked our nose out and saw everything was going down in the corner over there,” said Erin Rehm, who works at nearby Femmes & Fidos.
As officers chased Coward, he then pulled out a weapon.
“He produced a firearm and fired one round at officers. Officers returned fire, Mr. Coward then proceeded to run up the embankment toward the overpass,” said Drew.
According to Drew, Coward fired a shot at the officers. One of the officers fired three rounds in return.
Coward continued to run, but a resident, who Drew called a Good Samaritan, intervened and detained him until officers caught up and took Coward into custody. They also recovered a firearm.
Drew says the man who intervened had a gun, which he had a permit to carry, but he did not use it. Drew also says the man did engage physically with the suspect until police arrived.
“Who knows what would’ve happened or if this would’ve continued, but by the grace of God no one was hurt,” said Drew. “I really want to thank the young man that engaged him and assisted police today.”
There were no injuries reported. One building was hit during the exchange of gunfire.
Drew says he spoke to the Good Samaritan.
“I’m thankful for how things ended up today. I cannot thank him enough. I believe that he may have helped saved lives today,” Drew said.
Video and images from the scene, which is near Herman Melville Avenue and William Styron Square, showed a large police presence around 11:30 a.m.
Coward was wanted on a probation violation for assault on a police officer and a grand larceny charge in the two jurisdictions, Drew confirmed.