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Press Release

District Man Sentenced to 22 Months in Prison For Possession of a Firearm by a Felon

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Caught With Semi-Automatic Handgun in Southeast Washington

            WASHINGTON – Pierre Mercer, 31, of Washington, D.C., has been sentenced to 22 months in prison on a federal firearms offense for carrying a semi-automatic handgun in Southeast Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).


            Mercer pled guilty in July 2016, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a person convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. He was sentenced on May 18, 2017, by the Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson. Following his prison term, Mercer will be placed on two years of supervised release.


            According to the government’s evidence, on Sept. 22, 2015, officers from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Criminal Interdiction Unit went to an apartment in the 1300 block of Savannah Street SE to serve a search warrant. Officers were in full uniform and were operating unmarked police vehicles. Upon arrival, officers observed three individuals at the rear of the location, within several feet from the door. Additionally, officers recognized one of the individuals as Mercer.


            Officers stopped the three individuals and conducted protective pat downs of them. As Mercer was being patted down, he began to struggle and actively resist by not allowing officers to conduct a thorough pat down of him. During the struggle, Mercer bit an officer on her right middle finger, causing a minor cut to the affected area. Mercer than spontaneously stated, “Okay, I got a gun on me.” Officers lifted up Mercer’s shirt, revealing an elastic band around his stomach area concealing a black and silver handgun.


            The firearm recovered from the defendant was a .40-caliber Smith and Wesson semi-automatic handgun. There were 10 .40 caliber bullets in the magazine of the handgun, with no rounds in the chamber. Ammunition, a bullet-resistant vest, an ID bracelet for Pierre Mercer, and other items were recovered in a search of the residence.


            In an earlier case, Mercer was sentenced in March 2004 to a seven-year prison term after pleading guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to conspiracy and armed robbery charges.


            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Phillips and Chief Newsham commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department. They also expressed appreciation for the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Jeannette Litz and Teesha Tobias. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory V. Cole, who prosecuted the case.

Updated May 19, 2017

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 17-110