Duluth Felon Indicted for Federal Firearm Violation

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

MINNEAPOLIS – A federal grand jury returned an indictment against a Duluth man for possession of a firearm as a felon, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, on September 11, 2022, Joseph Francis Butler, 32, entered a gas station in Duluth and argued with the store clerk over change from a transaction. Butler then walked behind the counter and punched the clerk. During the scuffle, a Springfield, model XD, .45 caliber pistol fell out of Butler’s waistband. Butler picked up the firearm, pointed it at the victim, and fired several times. The victim was not directly hit by the rounds but suffered powder burns and a graze wound. Butler then fled the store. Butler was eventually apprehended in Bloomington with the same firearm.

Because Butler has multiple prior felony convictions in Cook County, Illinois, he is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition at any time.

Butler is charged with one count of possessing a firearm as a felon. He previously made his initial appearance on a related complaint before Magistrate Judge Leo. I Brisbois in Duluth.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Duluth Police Department and the Bloomington Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander D. Chiquoine and Esther Soria Mignanelli are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.