Bail bondsman booked on charges

WARREN — A Warren man who works as a bail bondsman found himself behind bars Thursday night after police said he shot out the tire of a woman he was trying to apprehend.

Stephen Simpson, 40, of Dunstan Drive NW, pleaded not guilty Friday to a misdemeanor charge of discharging firearms inside the city limits and made an initial appearance on a charge of felonious assault, according to Warren Municipal Court records.

Simpson was released from the Trumbull County Jail Friday after posting a $10,000 bond and is due back in court Tuesday, court records show. Conditions of his bond are that he have no contact with the victim, Melanie Walker, and he had to forfeit his weapon and his concealed carry permit, court records show.

According to a Warren police report, officers responded to the Parkman Road plaza parking lot just after 4 p.m. for a call about shots being fired. The caller, a woman who was coming out of Dollar Tree, told dispatchers she heard someone yell “Don’t do it” before a shot was fired. She said both vehicles had fled the scene, the report states.

A few seconds later, dispatchers received a call from a bondsman at Around the Clock Bail Bonds about a fellow employee, Simpson, firing a shot at a vehicle as it was fleeing, and he and Simpson were on their way to the station to file a report. However, the owner of the bond company told officers Simpson no longer worked for them and had been fired three months ago.

The manager at Dollar Tree told officers a vehicle was parked in front of the store very close to the doors, and two men approached the vehicle to arrest the woman inside, but she started to drive away, the police report states.

The manager said one of the men stood in front of the car, but then moved out of the way when the woman tried driving away. She said the man on the driver’s side of the car shot out the front driver’s side tire and the woman’s tire was flat as she drove around the back of the store, the report states.

The manager gave officers a spent shell casing from a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber revolver that was picked up by another employee.

A short time later, dispatchers received a call about a green Ford Escape SUV with a flat driver’s side tire that was abandoned on Solar Drive NW. The caller said the female driver jumped out of the car and ran through the back yards, the report states.

Police matched the casing to Simpson’s gun and the bullet found in the tire, so Simpson was arrested on the weapons and felonious assault charges. The woman he was after, Melanie Walker, was not located.