Published: Oct 18, 2012 06:50 PM
Modified: Oct 18, 2012 06:50 PM
DURHAM - Durham Chief Magistrate Donald Paschall stood by a $7.8 million bail set for a man connected to a traffic-stop that led to an exchange of gunfire with police Wednesday afternoon.
Gerald Eugene Walker, 44, was taken into custody after the incident, and police are still looking for another suspect.
Walker was charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a government official, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, possession of a firearm by a felon and resisting arrest in the Wednesday incident.
Police also served warrants charging him with first-degree sex offense with a child under the age of 13 in 2010 and attempted larceny, two counts of felony conspiracy and one count of felony larceny from 2011.
Court records indicate that Walker has 24 prior convictions, including three violent crimes. He also failed to appear in court about 10 times, the records stated.
The majority of Walker’s bail, $7 million, related to the charges of assault with a deadly weapon on a government official, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and resisting arrest, according to court documents.
“We have set them higher than that,” Paschall said. “That is among the highest.”
The highest bail is actually no bail, which is often used in cases in which the defendant faces a possible death penalty.
Paschall, however, noted that the law lets judicial officials consider other factors, such as nature and circumstance of the offenses, the defendant’s prior record, and cooperation with law enforcement.
Firing at a police officer is not a common offense, he said.
“If they will shoot at an armed police officer, they will shoot at anyone on the street,” he said. Walker’s exchange with police endangered the general public, Paschall said.
On Thursday morning Walker had his first appearance before District Court Judge Nancy Gordon, who let his bail amount stand, Paschall said.
The magistrate also assigned $750,000 bail for a 2010 charge of first-degree sex offense with a child under the age of 13, $20,000 bail for attempted larceny, and a $10,000 bail for a charge of speeding to elude arrest with a motor vehicle.
Those amounts match the suggested guidelines, with the exception of the speeding to elude arrest, which has a suggested bail of $2,500.