Man Sentenced to a Year and a Half in Federal Prison for Illegally Possessing Loaded Gun During Looting in Downtown Chicago

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CHICAGO — A man who illegally possessed a loaded handgun during widespread looting in downtown Chicago last summer was sentenced today to 18 months in federal prison.

Chicago Police officers attempted to detain JAVONTE T. WILLIAMS for suspected looting near North State Street and East Lake Street in downtown Chicago at 5:00 a.m. on Aug. 10, 2020.  As officers pursued and arrested Williams, a semi-automatic handgun fell from his body to the ground.  The gun was loaded with multiple rounds of ammunition in the magazine and one in the chamber.

During the investigation, law enforcement uncovered multiple social media postings by Williams in which he boasted about looting in Chicago in the summer of 2020.

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Williams, 28, of Chicago, pleaded guilty earlier this year to illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  He 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. 


U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall imposed the 18-month federal sentence after a hearing in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Kristen de Tineo, 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 the charge. 

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“During a night of complete lawlessness in the city of Chicago, the defendant put himself at ground zero and endangered the lives of law enforcement, the general public, and himself by carrying a loaded firearm in his waistband,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher V. Parente argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.  “The illegal possession of a firearm by a felon is always a dangerous and serious offense.”

Williams’s sentencing was the second sentencing this week in federal court for illegal firearm possession during looting incidents in downtown Chicago last summer.  Judge Kendall on Tuesday sentenced BRANDON PEGUES, of Riverdale, to a year in federal prison for illegally possessing a semiautomatic handgun on the Near South Side on May 31, 2020.

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