Warren man facing federal gun charges

Local News
Willie Joe Dawson is facing federal gun charges.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A Warren man entered a plea of not guilty Wednesday in federal court after he was arraigned on a gun charge.

Willie Joe Dawson, 34, of Southern Boulevard SW, entered his plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Amanda M. Knapp in the U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio. He will remain in federal detention pending further proceedings, according to court records.

Dawson was taken into custody last week after a criminal complaint was filed against him stemming from an Sept. 17 arrest by Warren police.

Officers pulled over a car Dawson was driving at West Market Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard for an expired license plate, an affidavit in the case said. The affidavit said a small child was in the back seat of the car and that the child’s mother showed up on the scene, but the officers thought she was trying to distract them.

The officers gave the child to the woman and told her to stand away from the car, the affidavit said.

Dawson was asking police for a break, saying he did not have a license and he only wanted to park the car at a nearby laundry mat, the affidavit said. As he spoke to police, he angled his body in a way that made it look like he was trying to hide something, according to the affidavit.

Police also saw several bullet holes in the side of the car, and they remembered that Dawson was both a suspect and victim in a recent shooting, the affidavit said.

Dawson was told to get out of the car because it was being towed due to Dawson having a suspended license. As he stepped out, he continued staring at the seat, reports said. When police searched the car before it was towed, they found a loaded .357-Magnum revolver under the driver’s seat, the affidavit said.

City police charged Dawson with carrying a concealed weapon and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Dawson is not allowed to have a gun because of 2006 convictions in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court for felonious assault, aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence.

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