This year five men gave up their firearms to law enforcement in Roanoke in accordance with Virginia’s red flag law. But the fifth, a teenager, was the first to face related criminal charges when an officer found him running from a stolen car with a gun.
Virginia’s red flag law went into effect in 2020. It allows law enforcement officials to petition for an emergency high-risk order for someone who may pose a threat to themselves or others.
If the petition is granted and a risk order is served, that person voluntarily turns over their firearms and is prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or transferring any firearms while the order is in effect.
According to court documents, the Roanoke officer responded on April 23 to an “active disturbance” involving a mother who said her son, 19-year-old Evion DeJoan White, “was making homicide-suicide statements while brandishing a firearm.”
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When the officer arrived at the scene of the commotion, he “found a revolver outside Evion’s room window”.
The officer filed a petition for an emergency high-stakes order with a Roanoke judge, who granted the request. Court documents indicate that when the order was issued, White gave up a black and turquoise handgun.
White appeared before Roanoke Circuit Court Judge Christopher Clemens on May 3, five days before the sizable emergency order expired. Instead, Clemens issued another High Risk Order, which was due to expire six months later on 3 November.
But on June 13, about a month after Clemens’ hearing, White was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm while under a high risk order, a misdemeanor.
According to the search warrant, that day Roanoke police officers were pursuing a red Oldsmobile that had been stolen.
One of the officers said the occupants of the stolen vehicle exited the vehicle near the northwest intersection of 12th Street and Orange Avenue and began running.
The officer saw one of the individuals, who police later identified as White, running north on 12th Street, “wearing light blue jeans and a dark long-sleeved shirt.”
The officer said White stopped running, turned around, and began reaching for the front of his pants. The officer thought he “may have been trying to obtain a firearm.”
The memo continued that White ran across Orange Street, between homes on 11th Street and 12th Street, and was “captured and taken into custody by other officers.”
The officer said he found “a tan revolver loaded with a black slide, no serial numbers,” and White’s shoes in the backyards of the 700 Building on 12th Street, along the same path that White had noticed, according to the memo.
Police confiscated a buccal DNA swab from White on June 14. During a grand jury meeting in Roanoke in August, he was charged with misdemeanor possession of a firearm and felony grand theft auto.
White pleaded guilty to the felony in circuit court on Monday and was sentenced to two years in prison. Once released, he will be placed on probation for two years. During that time, he will continue to receive mental health treatment.
In return for his admission, the prosecution, represented by Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jason Morgan, agreed not to pursue misdemeanor firearms possession.
Since he is now a convicted felon, Wyatt is prohibited from carrying firearms. But Assistant Commonwealth Attorney General Alyssa Smith said White will remain under a high risk order until November, when a judge decides to extend or terminate it.