News and Press Releases

Project Safe Neighborhoods:

August 12, 2011

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that JOSEPH DONABY, also known as “Bummy Jack,” 31, of New Haven, has been arrested on a federal criminal complaint charging him with one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, and one count of possession of an unregistered sawed-off rifle.

As alleged in the criminal complaint, on June 23, 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) received information that an individual known as “Bummy Jack” was attempting to sell a sawed-off shotgun for $350.  At the direction of law enforcement, an individual called Bummy Jack’s cell phone to arrange a meeting in the area of Whalley Avenue and Blake Street in New Haven to conduct a transaction of the firearm.  However, in the late afternoon of June 23, while they were en route to the meet location, ATF Task Force Officers heard radio transmissions related to the arrest of an individual who was in possession of a sawed-off firearm in the area of the designated meet location.

The complaint further alleges that at approximately 6:00 p.m. on June 23, New Haven Police Department Dispatch notified officers via police radio that “Shot Spotter” had detected one gun shot on Blake Street in between Osborn Avenue and Diamond Street.  Shot Spotter is a computerized system that has sensors throughout New Haven capable of detecting the location of gun shots through the monitoring of sound waves.  New Haven Police officers responding to the area saw DONABY walking quickly on Blake Street across Osborn Avenue.  As officers approached DONABY, he began to run.  It is alleged that DONABY removed a large brown and black firearm from his waist area in the vicinity of 96 Blake Street, refused orders to “drop the gun,” and then threw the firearm over a fence.  DONABY then attempted to climb the fence and made further attempts to resist arrest before he was ultimately subdued by officers and placed under arrest.  New Haven Police then recovered a loaded, sawed-off Weatherby, model Mark XXII, .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle in the area where DONABY had discarded a firearm.

The criminal complaint alleges that DONABY was subsequently identified as “Bummy Jack.”  It is further alleged that the number of a cell phone that was in DONABY’s possession at the time of his arrest is the same number used by ATF Task Force officers to arrange the firearm transaction with Bummy Jack earlier that day.

The complaint alleges that DONABY has several prior state convictions, as well as a prior federal conviction for possession of a firearm by convicted felon.

DONABY has been incarcerated since his arrest on June 23.  Today, DONABY appeared before United States Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel in Bridgeport and was ordered detained.

The charge of possession of a firearm and ammunition carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.  The charge of possession of an unregistered sawed-off rifle carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), and the New Haven Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tracy Lee Dayton.

The Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, and improving the safety of residents of Connecticut’s cities. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.



Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722


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