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Press Release

Harris Teeter Manager Sentenced for Role in Firearm Purchase Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. – A Raleigh man was sentenced today to 30 months in prison for making false statements during the purchases of firearms.

According to court documents, William John Shaw, Jr., 37, co-manager of Harris Teeter in Raleigh from October 2016 until present, was named in an eight-count Criminal Information filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina on December 20, 2019.  On February 10, 2020, with a written Plea Agreement, the defendant pled guilty to all eight counts of making False Statement During Purchase of a Firearm.

An investigation was initiated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Washington Group II, following the receipt of information from local law enforcement regarding numerous recovered firearms in Washington, D.C., and Maryland, some of which had been used in crimes.  Investigators determined that between 2013 and 2019, Shaw had purchased numerous firearms at various stores and pawn shops located in Wake County and Johnston County and sold those firearms to individuals in Washington, D.C., and Maryland. During these firearm purchases, Shaw knowingly made false statements related to the acquisition and intended ownership of the firearms.  Investigators determined that Shaw filled out numerous ATF Form 4473 and stated that he was the actual transferee/buyer of the purchased firearm(s) and that he was not acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person. Investigators determined this to be false because Shaw was not purchasing firearms for himself, but rather for other individuals. In 2019, Shaw made unprotected admissions to ATF agents that he purchased and sold approximately 30 to 40 firearms to relatives and other unknown individuals.

“One of the priorities of the Justice Department is to shut down the illegal gun pipeline that feeds firearms into some of our largest and most crime ridden communities,” commented U.S. Attorney Higdon.  “William Shaw was running a gun pipeline between here and Washington.  But, no more.  The people of the Eastern District as well as the people of Washington are safer now because his pipeline has been shut down.”

Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives Washington Group, II investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel W. Smith  prosecuted the case.

This case is 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, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), 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:  

Related court documents and information are located on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:19-cr-00532-D.


The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at

Updated May 26, 2020

Project Guardian