CHARLESTON, WV – Authorities in Charleston say that a lawfully armed woman was able to shoot and kill a man reportedly armed with an AR-style rifle who had opened fire on a crowd attending a graduation party this week.
Police say the incident occurred on the evening of May 25th near the Vista View Apartment complex located off the 1300 block of Renaissance Circle.
A man, later identified as Dennis Butler, had apparently been warned by locals in the apartment complex about not speeding while children were outside. After the aforementioned interaction, authorities say Butler briefly left but then returned – armed with an AR-15 style rifle.
Butler reportedly began firing into the crowd attending the graduation party but was quickly put down by a woman who was lawfully armed with a pistol. Numerous witnesses and the armed citizen waited on site for police to respond, cooperating with first responders as they arrived.
Aside from Butler, who succumbed to his sustained wounds, no one else was injured.
The unnamed hero in the matter is reportedly not facing any charges, with Charleston Police Department Chief of Detectives Tony Hazelett commending the brave woman’s actions, stating, “Instead of running from the threat, she engaged with the threat and saved several lives last night.”
Local reports show that the decedent, Butler, was certainly no stranger to police, toting a lengthy rap sheet in Kanawha County of roughly 20 arrests (and that’s not even including Butler’s criminal history out of the state of Pennsylvania).
WCHSTV described Butler as “a convicted felon and a frequent flyer at the Kanawha County Judicial Annex,” when referencing his checkered past and panache for undesirable police interactions. At the time of the ill-fated AR-15 incident where Butler was killed by an armed citizen, he was reportedly wanted on charges of transferring and receiving stolen goods.
Butler was reportedly charged with unlawful and malicious wounding after a woman was shot on Charleston’s East Side back in 2016. Court records out of Pennsylvania revealed Butler harbored convictions of child neglect and abuse, which had enhanced charges in West Virginia for unlawful possession of a firearm.
However, that 2016 case wound up coming up dry in terms of a conviction, as the state failed to produce any witnesses during a preliminary hearing. Apparently, having a lack of witnesses served as a problem for multiple cases brought against Butler over the years before his recent passing.
Nonetheless, Chief of Detectives Hazelett mentioned in reference to the latest incident involving Butler that “We quickly learned that the ‘victim’ turned into a gunman,” briefly referencing his “prior criminal history.”
While police stated that the woman is not facing charges, the matter is still being investigated by the Kanawha County Prosecutor’s office, who will have the final word on the case.