SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – An Assumption, Ill., man, Randall R. Burrus, 50, made his initial appearance in federal court via teleconference on April 16, following his arrest on April 15, 2020. Burrus is charged in a criminal complaint with possession of a firearm by a felon and with possession of a firearm after conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, in mid-March, the FBI National Threat Operations Center received an online tip via the www.tips.fbi.gov website. The tip reported an online chat by several unknown subjects on a chat platform used by gamers known as Discord. The tip reported that the subjects appeared to be making plans for some type of attack and/or shooting at a school, mosque, or synagogue in the United States, Canada and New Zealand.
An investigation of the username ‘Martyrdom,’ one of the usernames on the chat platform, led investigators to the IP address, phone number and email for Randall Burrus of Assumption, Ill., according to the affidavit. Burrus allegedly has both felony and misdemeanor convictions in Shelby and Christian counties for domestic battery and violation of orders of protection, which would make Burrus ineligible to legally possess firearms and ammunition.
On April 15, the FBI executed a search warrant related to hate crimes and illegal possession of firearms at Burrus’s residence in the 300 block of Sarah St. According to the affidavit, agents recovered a .223 Ruger Mini 14 rifle, a Smith and Wesson .40 handgun and numerous boxes of ammunition.
Burrus was taken into law enforcement custody, and appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric I. Long, who ordered that Burrus remain detained pending a hearing scheduled on Monday, April 20.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Crystal C. Correa is representing the government in the prosecution. The FBI, Illinois State Police, and the Christian County Sheriff’s Office are conducting the investigation.
If convicted of the charges, Burrus faces up to 10 years in prison.
Members of the public are reminded that a complaint is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
This case is brought as part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, and local authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by ATF when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.