RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham on Wednesday said that one of his officers could have been killed at during a traffic stop Tuesday night. The suspect he was struggling with, 24-year-old Donte Watts, was pulling the trigger of a gun pointed at the officer’s stomach.
The department called that officer and others on the scene heroes for apprehending the man without firing a single shot. Officials also praised an unidentified citizen who alerted them in the first place.
Police tell 8News a woman called 911 to report someone shooting into her apartment and that the detailed description she gave third precinct officers led them straight to the suspect.
“They got him and it was a big relief,” said Chardae Boswell, who lives at Blue Ridge Estates. She woke up Tuesday night to the sound of shots being fired next door.
“It was five gunshots fired right outside my house,” she recalled. “I got up very quickly.”
Boswell said she called one of her neighbors, but did not call police out of fear of retaliation from whoever was shooting outside.
Fortunately, a woman next door picked up the phone and called 911 to alert police about a man who fired shots at her and who also fired shots into her apartment.
“A resident of that unit provided a suspect description,” Chief Durham said.
Officers broadcast the suspect description, quickly tracking down Watts as he got into a car on Carnation Street nearby. There was a struggle when Watts pulled a handgun on an officer, but police were able to arrest him with no injuries and no shots fired.
“I think that we all can say that they’re heroes. They showed amazing restraint,” the chief told reporters during a news conference on the incident.
After news that her neighbor’s 911 call led to Watt’s arrest, Boswell said she would not hesitate to call police in the future.
“Yes it does it lets me know if I see anything, if something’s not right, always call 911,” the single mother told 8News.
Captain Christopher Gleason said the arrest is a positive sign for the city’s crime prevention strategy. “This is truly an indication that community policing is truly beginning to work here in Richmond.”
Boswell told 8News that her change of heart on calling police comes down to her role as a mom and as a neighbor. “You know, we are all females. With mothers especially, it’s important that we have our safety and work together.”
Donte Watts is charged with attempted murder and assault on an officer, along with use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Other charges are pending, as detectives continue to consult with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. He is being held at the Richmond City Justice Center.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.