Police are looking into the possibility a suspect shot in a recent gunfight took a detour to ditch his weapon while on the way to the hospital, court documents show.
Rayshawn Wa-Heim Bennett, 19, is accused of shooting into a Hughes Street bar early Sept. 29, police reported.
Bennett and another woman — both with gunshot wounds — arrived together at the emergency room of Sovah Health-Danville after 2 a.m. that morning and later told police about the shooting.
Yet surveillance footage documenting the shooting and their arrival at the emergency room shows it took nine minutes for Bennett to reach the hospital, a search warrant filed Oct. 2 in Danville Circuit Court states. The hospital is slightly less than a mile from the scene of the shooting and the hour the drive occurred is “typically a time of very light traffic,” officer J.D. Dixon wrote in the warrant.
Police searched the Ford sedan Bennett rode in to the hospital and, although video shows him jumping into the car with a gun, there was no weapon to be found. They did find a gun box in the car, however, for a Glock 9 mm that a trace by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives shows was bought at a Danville pawn shop by a local woman three days before the shooting, a search warrant filed Sept. 30 states.
To piece together the mystery of the missing gun, investigators placed the locations of the shooting and the hospital into Google Maps and noted it should have been a three-minute trip.
“Based on the time to get to the hospital and the firearm not being in the vehicle when arriving at the E.R., it is believed he likely communicated with someone to hand the firearm off,” Dixon wrote.
Bolstering that theory is a recorded jailhouse phone call where Bennett, being held without bond in the Danville City Jail, tells someone the missing firearm is located at the home of an associate, according to a search warrant filed Oct. 3.
“Bennett states for this person, on the jail call, to make contact with the purchaser of the firearm ... and have her contact [the associate] and get the firearm back,” Cpl. C.K. Newcomb wrote in the search warrant.
The woman Bennett identifies in the recorded phone call as the buyer is the same woman the ATF trace shows bought the Glock 9 mm from a pawn shop Sept. 26, search warrants show.
A warrant filed to search the associate’s home shows that nothing was taken during the search.
Police never executed the warrant filed to search the home of the woman who bought the Glock 9 mm.
The Danville Police Department would not say whether the missing firearm has been found.
“We cannot comment on that because it’s an active, ongoing investigation,” Sgt. Nicole Jeffries said.
A preliminary hearing for Bennett is set at 2 p.m. Dec. 12 in Danville General District Court.
Avent is a reporter with the Danville Register & Bee. Reach him at (434) 797-7983.