Roanoke Police say an officer came across a fight in the middle of a street Monday afternoon, one of the men involved holding what appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun. It happened along the 600 block of 11th Street Northwest. Police say the gun was dropped when the officer demanded it, and both men were arrested. Both face assault charges. The gun turned out to be what police describe as a realistic-looking BB-gun.
From Roanoke Police: An officer was on patrol at 4:25 pm on August 28th when he saw two men actively fighting in the middle of the 600 block of 11th Street NW. The officer immediately marked out over the police radio, advising of the fight. As he quickly exited his patrol car and approached the men, who were still fighting, he observed that one of the men, later identified as Darren Vandore Johnson, age 29, of Roanoke, was holding what appeared to be a semi automatic firearm in his hand. The officer advised over the police radio that one person had a gun, and asked for an expedited response from backup officers. The officer shouted commands for Johnson to drop the gun, and he did. The officer grabbed the gun off the roadway, as the men stopped fighting and simultaneously started walking off in opposite directions. A northbound school bus on 11th Street had to stop due to the active fight in the middle of the roadway.
The officer attempted to speak with Johnson since he was brandishing the firearm at the other person. Johnson refused to stop and then started running east on Madison Avenue. The officer apprehended him near the corner of 10th Street and Madison Avenue after a short foot pursuit. The officer then calmly directed responding back up officers to the location of the second suspect who had also been fighting. He was stopped in the 1100 block of Melrose Avenue and taken into custody. He was identified as Darayon Michael Bowens, age 24, of Roanoke. Johnson received minor injuries to his lip and hand from the original fight. He was treated at the scene by Roanoke Fire EMS.
Johnson was taken to the Roanoke City Jail and charged with simple assault and brandishing a firearm. The firearm turned out to be a very realistic appearing BB gun. Bowens was also taken to the Roanoke City Jail and charged with assault and released. A picture of the BB gun Johnson was holding, as well as a real firearm of similar style are below.