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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


MAY 15, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


NEOSHO MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ILLEGAL FIREARMS;

TWO OFFICERS INJURED IN SHOOT-OUT


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Neosho, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally possessing stolen firearms.


            Adam Bridgewater, 21, of Neosho, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr this afternoon to the charges contained in an April 11, 2007, federal indictment.


            Bridgewater was driving a vehicle in Neosho that was pulled over for speeding on March 16, 2007. When a police officer approached the vehicle, he saw a handgun in Bridgewater’s lap and ran for cover as Bridgewater began firing the weapon at him, striking him once in the arm. Bridgewater then sped away as the officer returned fire.


            Another police officer arrived on scene as a back-up and took up the pursuit. As the officer crested a hill, he observed Bridgewater’s vehicle stopped in the middle of the road. Bridgewater fired multiple shots at the officer’s vehicle, one of which penetrated the front windshield, striking the officer in the face. Other law enforcement officers pursued Bridgewater into McDonald County, drawing fire from his vehicle, before he eluded them.


            Shortly thereafter, Bridgewater’s vehicle was discovered abandoned and towed to the Neosho Armory. During an inventory of the vehicle, officers found marijuana and related paraphernalia, handcuffs, seven shotgun shells, .38-caliber ammunition, shell casings, an Ithaca 12-gauge shotgun, a Ruger .22-caliber rifle, two banana-style magazines loaded with .22-caliber ammunition, a loaded Remington 20-gauge shotgun, a Harrington and Richardson 410-gauge shotgun and Uniden scanners.


            Bridgewater was apprehended on March 16, 2007, while hiding in a wooded area of Newton County. A loaded .38-caliber handgun was found in his possession. During the follow-up investigation, law enforcement authorities obtained a warrant to search a storage unit in Neosho that Bridgewater had rented to use as a repository for items that he had stolen in a variety of burglaries. A search of the storage facility yielded 10 additional firearms. Virtually all of the firearms recovered from both Bridgewater’s vehicle and the storage unit were later confirmed to be stolen.


            By pleading guilty today, Bridgewater admitted that he was a felon and an unlawful user of marijuana while in possession of firearms and ammunition on March 16, 2007, in Newton and McDonald counties. Bridgewater also admitted that he was in possession of stolen firearms on March 16, 2007.


            Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony or who is an unlawful user of a controlled substance to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Bridgewater has a prior felony conviction for property damage in the first degree.


            Under federal statutes, Bridgewater could be subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Newton County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the McDonald County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Neosho, Mo., Police Department, the Jasper County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html