Police say a 71-year-old West Virginia man was arrested on gun charges in Washington, D.C., carried with him a list of U.S. and state lawmakers.
U.S. Capitol Police arrested Dennis Westover of South Charleston about 1:35 p.m. Wednesday. He was charged with carrying a pistol without a license, possession of unregistered ammunition, and unlawful possession of a firearm.
“ln Defendant Westover’s car, the police located Defendant Westover’s Will and Birth Certificate along with Stop the Steal paperwork that had a list of Senators and Representatives both U.S. and West Virginia State Senators and Representatives, with contact info,” according to an affidavit filed in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.
Police stopped Westover near the Armed Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial.
Westover had parked his car at an intersection shut down by orange traffic barrels at the fenceline that was erected to secure last week’s presidential inauguration. He got out of the car and started walking. When a responding officer caught up with him, Westover “was animated” and “shouting to the Guardsmen who were inside the fence line.”
The officer, Seth Carll, asked Westover what he was doing.
The officer said Westover responded, “I wanted to see the fence that was around ‘my Capitol.'”
When asked if the car was his, Westover said yes, and that he’d driven from Charleston since 5:30 a.m.
The officer asked to see Westover’s driver’s license. Westover responded that he’d lost it but instead had his birth certificate and Social Security card.
Then Westover was asked if he had a gun. He said he did not have one on him but that there was a pistol in the vehicle’s center console. When asked if the pistol was loaded, he responded there was nothing in the chamber but that it did have a magazine. Westover told the officer he is licensed in West Virginia and believed the license would be valid in D.C. too.
Officers later determined Westover had a black Sig Sauer 9mm P365 pistol with an inserted magazine with ten rounds. There was another magazine in the console with ten rounds. Officers determined he did not have a valid gun permit for D.C.
A further search of the vehicle revealed the paperwork that included the list of lawmakers and his will.
He told interviewing officers that “he was concerned about the honesty and integrity of the election and now he listens to both sides. He said we have some polar extremes of opinion in this nation and that while he believes there was election fraud at this point it is a moot point. He said the process I am engaged is righteousness, justice and truth.”
A judge with the Superior Court of the District of Columbia today released Westover, saying “none of the statements [Westover made to police] are threats, they are just points of view.”
Westover was ordered to stay out of Washington, D.C., except for court hearings and meetings with his attorney. He entered a plea of not guilty to the weapons charges and has a July 1 status hearing.
Washington, D.C., has been on edge and the site of major security efforts since the Jan. 6 mob swept into the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the counting of electoral votes. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin today warning of the possibility of politically-motivated violence by domestic extremists.
Posts on Facebook show photos of Westover attending the Jan. 6 “Stop The Steal” rally in Washington, D.C., although none show him inside the Capitol building.
Video posted to Facebook shows Westover also joined a small crowd of protesters at the West Virginia State Capitol on Jan. 9.