- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A Delaware court commissioner on Friday refused to dismiss gun charges against a man shot by a Dover police officer last month, although questions remain about whether officers ever saw the man holding a weapon.

Terrance Fletcher, 21, appeared at a preliminary hearing Friday on charges of carrying a concealed deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a person prohibited.

Fletcher, using a walker to help support himself as he entered the courtroom, was shot in the thigh by a Dover police officer on Aug. 28 after authorities responded to a tip from a confidential informant about a man with a gun.

Dover police detective Jeffrey Gott testified Friday that, after initially denying he had a gun, Fletcher admitted in a prison interview earlier this month that he had a gun with him that day, and that he tossed it away while being chased by police.

Gott, who is leading the criminal investigation into the incident, said Fletcher described the gun as a loaded 5-shot revolver, the same type of weapon that officers found in a grassy area several feet from where Fletcher was shot.

But Gott also admitted two of the three officers involved in the incident never reported that they actually saw Fletcher with a weapon, even though one of them believed Fletcher was armed and had shouted a warning to others after seeing Fletcher reach toward his waist.

Gott also testified that, although the shooting happened three weeks ago, he has not yet interviewed the officer who fired his weapon.

In describing his Sept. 1 prison interview with Fletcher, Gott also indicated that Fletcher said he tossed his gun while running through a backyard and before he crossed over a broken fence into the parking lot where he was shot.

After talking privately with attorneys outside earshot of courtroom spectators, Court of Common Pleas Commissioner Abby Adams granted a prosecution request that the name of the officer who shot Fletcher not be disclosed during Friday’s hearing.

Public defender William Deely argued that the charges against Fletcher should be dismissed because there is no evidence that police ever saw him holding or tossing a gun. He also noted that no usable fingerprints were found on the .38 caliber revolver recovered by police within 20 feet of where Fletcher lay wounded. Deely suggested that Fletcher may have had his hands near his waist because he was trying to hold his pants up.

“Nobody sees him throw the gun. Nobody sees the gun,” Deely argued.

“We have nothing in this hearing other than the defendant’s statement … after he originally denied it,” he added.

But Adams ruled that there was sufficient probable cause to transfer the case to Superior Court, noting that the standard for finding probable cause is less than that required for a conviction.

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