Uniontown, PA Felon Who Accidentally Shot Himself Pleads Guilty to Illegally Possessing a Gun and Ammunition in Violation of Federal Law

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A resident of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

Juan Washington, 44, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that, Washington left a bar in Uniontown after midnight on December 30, 2019, and then he accidentally shot himself in the leg outside a nearby Family Dollar Store. Washington then limped across the street where he placed the gun and magazine on the retaining wall next to the sidewalk in front of a private home. Washington then limped back across the street to the sidewalk in front of the bar where he called for help. He initially claimed that robbers shot him, that he took the gun, and that he fired back. But he later admitted that he shot himself by accident. Police traced the trail of blood from the front of the bar to the retaining wall where they found the gun and then to the Family Dollar where they found a spent shell. The same brand and caliber of ammunition was in Washington’s pocket, the gun, and the magazine, as well as the spent shell casing outside the Family Dollar. Additionally, Washington’s DNA was the only DNA found inside the gun barrel, gun muzzle, and spent casing and was the majority component of DNA found on portions of the gun, magazine, and live rounds. Washington has multiple prior felony convictions for receiving stolen property in 2006 and drug trafficking in 1999.

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Judge Ranjan scheduled sentencing for January 31, 2022 at 11:00 am. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of ten years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the Court continued Washington’s release on $10,000 unsecured bond.

Assistant United States Attorney Ira M. Karoll is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Uniontown City Police Department conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case. This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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