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Search & Seizure – Felon In Possession – Pat-Down Search – Gunshots

Where a suspect acted in a furtive manner as he drove away from the area where an officer heard six gunshots, the officer had cause to require the suspect to exit his vehicle and submit to a pat-down, and the defendant’s suppression motion is denied by a Roanoke U.S. District Court.

The court readily concludes that the officer had reasonable articulable suspicion to require Calloway to exit his vehicle to conduct a limited investigation and to pat down Calloway for the officer’s safety. It was the early morning hours in an area the officer described as a high crime area; the officer heard more than six gunshots in rapid succession; he immediately headed towards the vicinity of the gunshots; Calloway pulled down a side street and abruptly pulled his vehicle up to the curb and stopped as if to avoid detection; the officer stopped behind Calloway without activating his emergency lights or siren; Calloway appeared to the officer to be placing something in a furtive manner under the front seat and then placed both hands out of the window.

The court concludes that these circumstances, considered in their totality, eliminated a substantial portion of innocent travelers and made the officer’s suspicion of active criminality reasonable and, therefore, justified a pat down for the officer’s safety.

U.S. v. Calloway (Wilson, J.) No. 7:09cr00034, Feb. 8, 2010; USDC at Roanoke, Va. VLW 010-3-065, 6 pp.

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