WINCHESTER — Twenty-one years after he committed a drive-by shooting, Josiah Divad Brisco said Wednesday in Frederick County Circuit Court that he was a changed man who deserved to have his gun rights restored.
Judge Brian Madden agreed, overruling a recommendation from Andrew M. Robbins, county deputy commonwealth’s attorney. “The commonwealth cannot in good conscience support this,” Robbins said, citing the severity of the crime.
Brisco, now 43, fired shots into a home in the 600 block of Round Hill Road while two people were in it on June 3, 1998. No one was hurt. He confessed a short time later, according to a criminal complaint.
Brisco told Madden he has had no criminal record since being released from prison — “I haven’t even had a speeding ticket,” he said — and teaches self-defense in his spare time. He said he also tries to be a good role model to young people. He said he helped defuse tension behind the scenes after the death of D’Londre Minifield after a police chase in 2016. Police said Minifield committed suicide, but his family contended he was killed by police leading to protest marches in Winchester.
Brisco said having his gun rights restored will make it easier for him in the part-time personal security work he does. He said it also will allow him to go hunting with his three young sons.
“I am definitely not the same person I used to be,” Brisco said. “I apologize for that happening 21 years ago.”
Brisco said in an interview after the hearing that he served nearly two years for shooting into a dwelling and discharging firearms from a motor vehicle. His civil rights were restored in 2016 by then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe. After the state Supreme Court invalidated blanket restoration of rights of some 200,000 felons in 2016, McAuliffe restored approximately 172,000 individually. Restoration includes getting back the right to vote, but felons must petition their local circuit courts to get their gun rights restored.
Brisco said he was “young and dumb” when the shooting occurred and the motive was a dispute over a woman. He reflected on his actions while incarcerated.
“What ate me up for awhile was, what if I actually hurt somebody,” he said. “What if someone had actually died? I never would have been able to live that down. That gave me a better outlook.”
Brisco, the father of sons ages, 5, 9 and 14, said his experience made him want to look out for people and be a good role model to his boys.
“I have to be the person that’s mature and steps up and lets them know what to look for in the proper way and handle it in the proper way,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what that other person thinks of you. It’s who you are inside. Make yourself the best you that you can be.”