Javonte T. Williams Charged in Federal Court With Illegally Possessing Loaded Gun After Allegedly Looting Downtown Chicago Store

(STL.News) – The U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged a man with a federal firearm offense after he allegedly illegally possessed a loaded gun while looting a store in downtown Chicago earlier this month.

JAVONTE T. WILLIAMS, 27, of Chicago, is charged with one count of illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  Williams was prohibited from possessing a gun after previously being convicted of a felony firearm offense in the Circuit Court of Cook County, for which he was sentenced to probation.

Williams was arrested this morning on the federal charge and made an initial appearance in federal court.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila M. Finnegan ordered Williams to remain in federal custody pending a detention hearing on Sept. 1, 2020, at 2:00 p.m.

The charge was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Kristen deTineo, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and David Brown, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in bringing this charge.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher V. Parente.

According to the federal criminal complaint, Chicago Police officers observed Williams exiting a closed retail store in the first block of East Randolph Street in downtown Chicago at 5:00 a.m. on Aug. 10, 2020.  Williams was carrying merchandise in his hands as he exited the store, the complaint states.  As officers pursued and arrested Williams, a semi-automatic handgun fell from his body to the ground, the complaint states.  The gun was loaded with seven rounds of ammunition in the magazine and one in the chamber, according to the complaint.

The case was brought under Operation Legend, a Department of Justice initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement to fight violent crime.  As part of Operation Legend, Attorney General William P. Barr directed ATF, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, and DEA to significantly increase resources in Chicago to help state and local officials fight violent crime, particularly firearm offenses.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is punishable by up to ten years in federal prison.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

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