Charleston Felon Involved in Drive-by Shooting Pleads Guilty to Federal Firearm Charge

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Hand Gun And Empty Bullet - Stock Photo © BS Photos.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A man involved in a drive-by shooting on Charleston’s West Side in February 2020 pleaded guilty today to a federal firearm charge.  Ronald Edward Tinsley, 49, of Charleston, pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen firearm. 

According to the plea agreement and statements made in court, on or about February 25, 2020, Tinsley was driving a vehicle on the west end of Charleston when officers with the Charleston Police Department attempted to stop him for a traffic violation.  In response, Tinsley fled at a high rate of speed for several blocks until he crashed into a building in the 1200 block of 6th Street.  As Tinsley exited the vehicle, he kicked a Makarov 9x18mm semi-automatic pistol underneath the vehicle.  This firearm had previously been stolen, and Tinsley knew or had reason to know that it was stolen at the time he possessed it.  Tinsley also admitted that he had been the driver of a vehicle during a drive-by shooting on the West Side of Charleston the night before and that the firearm he possession was used in the shooting by a passenger in the vehicle.  Through the use of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), law enforcement officers were able to confirm that spent shell casings recovered at the scene of the shooting matched the Makarov pistol that Tinsley possessed.

Tinsley has a long criminal history to include prior federal convictions related to controlled substance distribution, as well as prior convictions for burglary and malicious assault in Kanawha County Circuit Court.  

“In partnership with federal, state and local law enforcement, we are utilizing every asset at our disposal to remove violent repeat offenders from our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Will Thompson.  “ATF’s NIBIN technology is an important tool in law enforcement’s toolbox and this case demonstrates the value of the ballistics evidence it provides in violent crime investigations. I commend the outstanding investigative work  done by the ATF and the Charleston Police Department.”   

“ATF’s NIBIN technology linked a violent felon to a drive-by shooting in Charleston,” stated Special Agent in Charge R. Shawn Morrow of ATF’s Louisville Field Division.  “This technology, being used by law enforcement in West Virginia and across the United States, provides critical links between violent street crimes and assists in obtaining serious federal charges.  Working with law enforcement partners like the Charleston Police Department, ATF Task Forces protect the public and make West Virginia communities much safer.”

Tinsley faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced on January 13, 2022.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)  and the Charleston Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy B. Wolfe is handling the prosecution.

United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin presided over the hearing. 

This case was made possible by investigative leads generated from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles. For more information on NIBIN, visit

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. 

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:20-cr-00133.