Man who pulled gun in Walmart during pandemic gets 4 years in Prison

PEORIA, ILLINOIS – Senior U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade today sentenced Tariq C. Lawson, 22, to 57 months (4 years, 9 months) in federal prison for illegal possession of a firearm by a felon.

At today’s hearing, immediately prior to sentencing, Lawson, of the 2400 block of Flora St., formally entered a plea of guilty as charged to the indictment. According to court documents and statements made in court, police responded to a disturbance on June 30, 2020, at the Walmart at 8915 N. Allen Rd., Peoria. A Peoria police officer observed the disturbance on Facebook in a live stream on Lawson’s account where Lawson appeared to have a handgun in his waistband while riding a motorized scooter in the store. The officer observed a juvenile who also had a gun, with Lawson.

When officers arrived at the store, they saw Lawson get into a vehicle. The vehicle’s owner consented to a search and officers found two handguns on top of groceries directly behind the area where Lawson was seated. At the time, Lawson had previously been convicted of a felony, and was on probation in Peoria County, and could not legally possess a gun.

Lawson has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest on a federal criminal complaint on Aug. 27, 2020.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald L. Hanna represented the government in the prosecution. The charges were investigated by the Peoria Police Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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