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January 13, 2014

Department of Justice

United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee


Grundy County Man Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Possessing A Firearm In October 2012 Shoot-Out With Police

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Russell Wayne Smith, 46, of Gruetli-Laager, Tenn., was sentenced on Jan. 13, 2014, to serve 10 years in prison by the Honorable Harry S. Mattice, Jr., U.S. District Judge. Smith pleaded guilty in October 2013 to a federal grand jury indictment charging him with being a prohibited person, by virtue of a felony conviction, in possession of a firearm. Smith’s sentence was the maximum allowed by the statute.

The investigation began when Smith, who had escaped from the Grundy County Jail, was found by Grundy County Sheriff’s Office deputies and fled from the scene, first on an all-terrain vehicle and then on foot. Deputies pursued Smith through a heavily wooded area and spotted him pointing a rifle in their direction. The deputies fired upon Smith hitting him at least twice. When he was apprehended he had two loaded firearms in his possession. Smith had previously been convicted of several felony offenses.

The indictment and subsequent conviction of Smith was the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Grundy County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Terra Bay represented the United States.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a comprehensive national strategy that creates local partnerships with law enforcement agencies to effectively enforce existing gun laws. It provides more options to prosecutors, allowing them to utilize local, state, and federal laws to ensure that criminals who commit gun crime face tough sentences. PSN gives each federal district the flexibility it needs to focus on individual challenges that a specific community faces.

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