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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut


Felon Who Possessed Loaded Sawed-off Rifle In New Haven Sentenced To 63 Months In Federal Prison

January 30, 2013

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOSEPH DONABY, also known as “Bummy Jack,” 32, of New Haven, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 63 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for possessing a loaded sawed-off rifle.

According to court documents and statements made in court, 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.

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.  DONABY then 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 threw the firearm over a fence.  He 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 subsequently recovered a sawed-off Weatherby, model Mark XXII, .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle, loaded with seven rounds of ammunition, in the area where DONABY had discarded a firearm.

Further investigation revealed 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.

Prior to June 2011, DONABY had sustained several state convictions and a federal conviction for possession of a firearm by convicted felon.  It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.

DONABY has been incarcerated since his arrest on June 23, 2011.  On November 15, 2012, he pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the New Haven Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tracy Lee Dayton.


Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722

Updated March 18, 2015