Fort Edward man faces SAFE Act violations

October 06, 2017 02:31 PM

FORT EDWARD - A 48-hour long ordeal ended in Washington County Thursday night when Devon Pratt turned himself in to Fort Edward Police, two days after village Police Chief Justin Derway determined the loaded assault rifle Pratt says he used to defend himself against a neighbor's pit bull violated the New York State SAFE Act.

"The DA's office says it was illegal. We say it wasn't. We'll find out," said Steve Coffey, Pratt's attorney.


The story initially unfolded in the immediate aftermath of the Las Vegas massacre. It forced Fort Edward Police to lock down the school after Pratt carried out of his house what they now say was an illegal assault rifle.

Coffey says it was his client who told him the weapon was legal. It was Derway who determined it wasn't after seizing the AR-15 from Pratt Tuesday morning.

"His response to the dispatcher was that he had the dog at gunpoint," Derway said. "On my arrival, I observed him standing at the edge of the street with what appeared to be an assault rifle."

"He absolutely was defending himself," Coffey asserted.

Coffey concedes that you cannot possess something that's illegal even if you have a good purpose or good intentions.

Pratt left the area after finding out police intended to arrest him.

"At the time I interacted with Mr. Pratt, he was very agitated," Derway stated. "There was a weapon present. The weapon was secured. Until I could determine the legality of the gun, I had no charges on him at that point. So he was released."

"There was an altercation between (Pratt) and the chief of police," Coffey pointed out. "He was worried about what might happen to him in the community and I'm not making a personal issue here with anyone. He wanted to distance himself from anything that might occur."

Coffey insists Pratt turned himself in on his own volition and that he didn't have to convince him to do so.

Pratt, the father of three, was sent to the Washington County Jail Thursday night, unable to raise $75,000 cash bail.

He's facing two charges -- Illegal Possession of a Weapon, 3rd degree, a Class D felony; and Illegal Possession of a Weapon 2nd degree, a class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.



Dan Levy

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