Report: Charleston police officer punched by fugitive after spotting gun

Report: Charleston police officer punched by fugitive after spotting gun

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Investigators say a 22-year-old fugitive was arrested after he punched a Charleston police officer who spotted a gun in a downtown home.

The Charleston Police Department charged Harry Wallace Watson with unlawful carrying of a firearm, possession of a pistol by certain persons, two counts of assault on a police officer, congregating for unlawful purpose and distribution of cocaine base.

On Wednesday night, a police officer was patrolling the area of North Romney Street in reference to numerous citizens' complaints of narcotics and weapon law violations. The officer said he saw a man, later identified as Watson, loitering next to a sign that said "No loitering."

Police say Watson then attempted to conceal himself from the officer by backing away and crouching in a breezeway. When the officer got out of his vehicle to investigate, authorities say Watson ran towards a building.

According to investigators, Watson ignored the police officer's commands to stop, and ran up a flight of stairs as he was grabbing his pants pockets.

A police report states the suspect then started beating on an apartment door and began yelling,"Let me in, hurry up."

The responding officer reported that Watson was trying to conceal a gun, and when the officer took out his gun and yelled,"Police don't move," the apartment door opened and Watson pushed his way inside and slammed the door on the officer.

The officer attempted to get inside, but investigators say Watson was holding the door shut. The officer then backed away from the door and yelled,"Police open the door."

A female's voice, which sounded "frantic and distressed," was then heard coming from the home yelling at Watson, "Put it down, and get out of my house." According to police, at this point, the door opened and the female tenant of the home backed away.

When the officer spotted Watson and told him not to move, Watson said "aight Nacy, aight," then got on the ground. Authorities say as the officer was detaining Watson, he saw a gun lying halfway underneath a couch.

According to police, when Watson noticed the officer had seen the gun, a struggled ensued. The officer said he was able to pull Watson away from the gun.

CPD officials reported that Watson then punched the officer and took off.

Two other officers then arrived on scene, chased Watson and detained him at a parking lot.

Police officers say they retrieved a gun, which had a live round in the chamber and a round in the magazine, from under the couch of the apartment.

An EMS medical crew arrived on scene and treated two officers for scrapes and cuts. Authorities say while Watson was being treated, it was discovered he had ingested an unknown amount of heroin based on his own self admission.

As Watson was being transported to the hospital with the responding officer accompanying him, he said,"I knew you seen the gun man. I had it in my hand when you opened the door. I knew you seen me in the cut, I was trying to hide on you."

At the hospital, police say Watson also told authorities,"I only had two bullets in the gun. Man Nacy, if I knew it was you I woulda never run from you or fought you."

Police say Watson did not have a concealed weapons permit. Watson was locked up at the Al Cannon Detention Center and given a $70,000 bond.

Investigators say a check on Watson revealed that he had an active warrant out of Charleston County for failure to appear for a general session charge of possession of cocaine.

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