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Press Release

Henderson Man Sentenced for Felon in Possession Charge

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

RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today, WENDELL ROUSE, JR., 32, of Henderson, North Carolina, was sentenced to 97 months imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release.

ROUSE was named in a two-count Indictment on July 25, 2017 charging him with two counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Felon.  On January 29, 2018, ROUSE pled guilty to one of those two counts.

Investigation was initiated by the Henderson Police Department (HPD) on June 20, 2017, when officers responded to reports of a gunshot victim.   The victim suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen by a .380 caliber bullet. Seven shell casing of the same caliber were recovered from the scene.  Further, the screen door of the residence had been shot out and there were three bullet holes in the side of the residence. Notably, the victim was shot from the outside while he was inside the residence.  Three children were also in the residence at the time.

Later the same night, while continuing their investigation, officers heard a gunshot nearby and then observed ROUSE as he walked through the crime scene tape and headed to the victim’s residence. ROUSE was instructed to raise his shirt to reveal his waistband. After hearing those instructions, ROUSE turned away from the officers and started to reach for something on his person.  ROUSE was then handcuffed and searched where officers recovered a .380 handgun from his waistband.  Ballistics later matched the defendant’s handgun to the bullets recovered from the scene.

In summary, ROUSE is responsible for possessing ammunition as a convicted felon.  At sentencing, the court determined that a cross reference to attempted murder under the sentencing guidelines was appropriate in this case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Henderson Police Department, the North Carolina Crime Laboratory, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).  Assistant United States Attorney S. Katherine Burnette handled the prosecution of this case for the government. 

Updated May 2, 2018

Project Safe Neighborhoods