MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – Bernard Jones, 35, has pled guilty to aggravated assault of a federal employee and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney announced the guilty plea today.
According to information presented in court, on September 4, 2019, at approximately 7:30 p.m., Jones was in the process of committing the crime of burglary of a motor vehicle. Meanwhile, the victim, a U.S. Postal Service employee, was preparing to take First Class mail from the Jet Cove Annex to the Memphis Processing & Distribution Center in downtown Memphis. While loading the mail into his USPS staff vehicle, the victim, observed someone moving around inside his personal vehicle parked approximately 50 yards away in the employee parking lot at the Memphis Priority Mail Annex. The victim drove the staff vehicle near his pickup truck and saw the defendant exit his pickup truck.
The defendant shot multiple times at the victim as he escaped in his postal vehicle. As the victim drove away, the defendant followed him in a Nissan Sentra and continued to shoot. During the course of the investigation, United States Postal Inspectors determined two bullets struck the hood and several other locations on the postal vehicle. Law enforcement located two 9MM Luger shell casings from the shooting scene. The suspect, along with a female accomplice, fled the scene in a blue Nissan Sentra. Postal Inspectors later identified Bernard M. Jones as the shooter. Jones, a convicted felon, is also a member of the Gangsters Disciples Street Gang, and as a result of his prior felony conviction history, is prohibited by federal law from possession of firearms or ammunition.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 24, 2021, before U.S. District Court Judge Sheryl Lipman. For the aggravated assault offense, Jones faces a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison followed by three years supervised release and a fine of $250,000. For the firearm offense, he faces a mandatory minimum consecutive sentence of 10 years and up to life imprisonment; a $ 250,000 fine and 5 years supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, “This office takes very seriously our duty to protect the safety of United States Postal Service employees and the sanctity and security of the U.S. Mail. This case reflects our commitment to hold offenders accountable for brazen and disturbing acts of violence that endanger and victimize federal employees. We commend the outstanding investigative work of the USPIS in this case.”
“Protecting the safety of our USPS employees is the United States Postal Inspection Service’s most important mission. Postal Inspectors will stop at nothing to identify those responsible for assaulting postal employees and will bring them to justice,” said Tommy D. Coke, U.S. Postal Inspector In Charge of the Atlanta Division.
The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) investigated this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy K. Cornejo is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.