News and Press Releases

Defendant Shot at Witnesses who Followed Him Outside After Gunshot in Restroom

March 14, 2008

CHARLES JAMES WILLIAMS, 28, of Seattle, Washington, was convicted late yesterday of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm, following a three day jury trial. The jury deliberated about three hours before returning a guilty verdict. U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez ordered that sentencing will occur following WILLIAMS’ April 28, 2008 trial for Possession of Crack Cocaine with the Intent to Distribute.

According to testimony at trial, WILLIAMS and his girlfriend arrived at the Whiskey Bar at Second and Virginia in Seattle, shortly before midnight on May 13, 2006. WILLIAMS went into the mens room and moments later bar staff and patrons heard a gunshot. The bar’s bouncer went in the restroom and saw WILLIAMS, the only person in the restroom, fumbling with a handgun. Another employee saw WILLIAMS leaving the restroom mumbling “That was crazy.” A bullet was later found lodged in the wall of the restroom. WILLIAMS left the bar and the bouncer, bartender, dishwasher and a bar patron followed, while calling 9-1-1 on a cell phone. At Third and Virginia, WILLIAMS again fumbled with the handgun, saw the group tracking him on the other side of the street, and fired one shot in their direction. After firing the shot, WILLIAMS ran south on Third Avenue, and discarded the handgun, a 9mm semi-automatic Ruger, at Third and Pine. Seattle Police Officers chased down, and after a brief struggle, arrested WILLIAMS.

WILLIAMS has prior convictions in Washington for Cocaine Possession (2002), Felony Harassment (2002), and prior convictions in Florida for Robbery with a Deadly Weapon (1997) and Carrying a Concealed Firearm (1997). The convictions prohibit WILLIAMS from legally possessing a firearm.

WILLIAMS was prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program. Unveiled by President George W. Bush in May 2001, Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), is a comprehensive and strategic approach to gun law enforcement. PSN is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America by networking both new and existing local programs that target gun crime and then providing them with the resources and tools they need to succeed. Implementation at the local level -- in this case, in King County-- has fostered close partnerships between federal, state and local prosecutors and law enforcement.

The case was investigated by the Seattle Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Colasurdo and Assistant United States Attorney Mary K. Dimke. Mr. Colasurdo is a King County Deputy Prosecutor Specially Designated to prosecute gun crimes in Federal Court.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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