Welsh faces new charges

RAVENSWOOD – A Rockport man arrested Tuesday after allegedly drawing a gun on a Ravenswood Police officer had been arrested twice this year in Wood County on charges out of California, where he served time for attempted murder.

Daniel Dwight Welsh, 37, of 1294 Joshus Fork Road, Rockport, is in custody at the South Central Regional Jail on a $300,000 bond for a felony charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, plus $1,000 for a misdemeanor count of petit larceny from a Monday incident in Wood County.

However, jail officials said he won’t be released even if he is able to post those bonds because he has a fugitive holder on him from Placer County, Calif.

A spokeswoman for the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said authorities there put the hold on him after his arrest Tuesday.

“They do plan on bringing him back,” said Dena Erwin, public information officer for the sheriff in Placer County.

Following Welsh’s arrest on a fugitive from justice warrant in April, California authorities declined to extradite him. He was out on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond following a second arrest based on his alleged violation of parole in California when Tuesday’s incident occurred.

According to a criminal complaint from Jackson County Magistrate Court, Ravenswood Police Lt. H.M. Parsons responded Tuesday to a report of a possibly intoxicated male in the parking lot of Wendy’s at 401 Washington St. Upon arrival, he found Welsh in the lot with an all-terrain vehicle.

After getting Welsh’s name and radioing back to headquarters, the complaint says, Parsons noticed a semi-automatic pistol in a bag on the ATV. He secured the weapon in his car, then asked Welsh to place his hands behind his back to be handcuffed.

The complaint says Welsh twice refused to comply, prompting Parsons to draw his Taser. Welsh reportedly started to turn away and attempted to pull another semi-automatic pistol from his pants pocket.

At that point, Parsons fired the Taser, but only one probe made contact, the complaint says. Welsh raised the weapon and said, “That’s not the way it works.”

After Parsons drew his own gun, the suspect fled across West Virginia 68 toward a field and railroad tracks, the complaint says. Another officer joined the pursuit until Welsh stopped on the tracks, pointed the gun to his head and said either he would shoot himself or the officers would be forced to do so.

As the officers spoke with Welsh, Jackson County sheriff’s deputies and West Virginia state troopers moved into position. A deputy incapacitated the suspect using a bean bag round, the complaint says.

The only charge listed with magistrate court was being a felon in possession of a firearm. A call to Ravenswood Police was not returned.

Wood County sheriff’s deputies had requested a petit larceny warrant for Welsh after he allegedly stole two guns- a .45-caliber Bersa Thunder Compact pistol and a .45-caliber Smith and Wesson Model 4566, both semiautomatic- from another resident on Joshus Fork Road in Rockport on Monday.

Wood County Chief Deputy Shawn Graham expressed frustration Wednesday that Welsh was not in custody when the Ravenswood incident occurred, since deputies arrested him May 29 on the parole violation.

“I think it’s ridiculous that he was released when we arrested him on an attempted murder parole violation,” Graham said. “Look what could have happened.”

Welsh was first arrested by State Police on April 23, after a reported domestic violence incident. Interviewed after his arraignment in Wood County Magistrate Court, he said he “came to West Virginia for the deer hunting and the moonshine.”

“For some reason, my parole officer wasn’t happy about me going this far away,” Welsh said at the time.

He subsequently waived extradition, court records show, but the Placer County Sheriff’s Office sent a message to local authorities saying the district attorney there had declined to extradite him.

Graham said deputies specifically went looking for Welsh in May after being notified by California authorities that they would extradite him. That time, he did not waive extradition.

Assistant Wood County Prosecutor Sean Francisco said Wednesday that his office had not been contacted by prosecutors or parole authorities in that state to discuss extradition.

“I have not received any notification yet from California whether they are going to actually go through the process of extraditing,” he said.

Francisco said he thought the previous refusal to extradite, and the fact that Welsh had a job and residence in Wood County, led to Wood County Circuit Court Judge Robert Waters granting the $5,000 personal recognizance bond.

Francisco said the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office might make a motion to revoke bond, depending on whether there was any chance of Welsh being released on the charges from Ravenswood.

A call to the Placer County District Attorney’s Office was not returned Wednesday.