Springfield man on the run in gun case caught in South Carolina

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Dennis Kennedy Jr. was a no-show in May when he was supposed to be sent to prison for charges. He fled the area but tips helped US Marshals catch him in South Carolina.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A Springfield man on the run from police for violent crimes for almost two months was caught Tuesday hiding in South Carolina.

Dennis Kennedy Jr., 21, was wanted on several warrants — including charges related to a shooting and a stolen gun — and for skipping out on a prison sentencing.

>>RELATED: Springfield man accused of gun violence wanted after no-show at court

Kennedy didn’t show up to his court hearing on May 21 when he was scheduled to be sentenced to prison on a weapons charge, said Nathan Lupica, coordinator of the Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team. SOFAST worked with U.S. Marshals in South Carolina to capture Kennedy on Tuesday.

“No matter where they go, they’re still going to be wanted, we’re still going to be looking for them,” Lupica said.

Investigators worked with tips from people in Springfield, along with their own confidential sources, Lupica said, to narrow in their search for Kennedy in the past few days to a home in Lynchburg, S.C.

Marshals went to the home — where Kennedy either had friends or family, Lupica said — about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. People who answered the door initially lied to officers and said Kennedy wasn’t there, but marshals discovered he had been hiding in an attic.

“He initially did not come down, he actually fell through the ceiling to where he was then finally arrested — he wasn’t cooperative at all during the arrest,” Lupica said.

>>MORE DETAILS: Wanted Springfield man on the run charged in new gun case

Kennedy was included at least twice as part of the Miami Valley’s Most Wanted on Channel 7 WHIO TV.

Kennedy was arrested in September 2015 after residents reported he was driving around the city waiving a gun from a car, according to police reports.

He was released from jail on his own recognizance in January, according to court records, and appeared in court in April to plead guilty to a charge of improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle.

But Kennedy didn’t show up to court in May for the sentencing.

Clark County prosecutors have previously called Kennedy “one of the biggest players in gun violence” in the city of Springfield.

“He was an essential part of the violence that occurred here through the year in 2015,” Springfield Police Chief Stephen Moody said.

>>MORE COVERAGE: Gun thefts, illegal weapons linked to Springfield violence

He was also charged in the shooting in April of another man at the victim’s home on Race Street.

Kennedy had been arrested on charges of murder in connection with the shooting death of George Walker Jr. in May 2014, but those charges were dropped when a witness for the case was shot and killed in a separate incident, prosecutors said.

Kennedy faces a possible 18 months in prison in the improper handling firearms case he pleaded guilty to, prosecutors said.

The tips that helped bring him in to custody is a vital part of the idea of community policing, Moody said.

“I’ve said it before, the most important part of that phrase is the community,” the chief said.