Man charged with attempted capital murder after gun battle with Newport News officers at Port Warwick

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Posted at 1:53 PM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 11:47:06-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Newport News Police held a press conference Tuesday after there was an exchange of gunfire between a man and officers earlier that day.

Police Chief Steve Drew says the incident took place at Port Warwick after officers were trying to track down a wanted man.

At 10:45 a.m., officers were attempting to serve a fugitive with outstanding warrants from James City County who was located in a local apartment complex. Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew identified the suspect as 22-year-old Deston Coward.

"They originally saw him in the apartment complex over here around Thimble Shoals, he ran in this direction through the area here in Port Warwick. He actually entered a business and exited while officers gave chase."

A foot chase ensued in the area of Nat Turner Road in Port Warwick. Police say the suspect then began to fire at officers who returned fire.

No one was shot or injured, Police Chief Drew said.

A bystander, who has a concealed carry permit, is said to have confronted the man too, which gave officers enough time to get to him to take him into custody. Chief Drew emphasized that the situation could’ve been much worse if not for the "good Samaritan," because officials say the fugitive was considered “armed and dangerous.”

"He was able to hold him and detain him for a brief second as officers made it up the embankment and took Mr. Coward into custody," Chief Drew said. "I really want to thank the young man that did engage him and assisted the police today. He did an amazing job."

Police say Coward was charged with attempted capital murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and possession of a firearm by a felon. Coward had pre-existing outstanding warrants for a probation violation out of York County and three counts of grand larceny out of James City County.