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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 3, 2019

Armed Career Criminal Sentenced for Possession of Ammunition

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Newport News man was sentenced today to more than 17 years in prison for the unlawful possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.

“While firing multiple shots in the air in public is extremely dangerous, it may not seem to warrant federal prosecution when viewed without broader context,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “That action is more than just reckless when preceded by pointing a loaded weapon at another person’s face and making unprovoked threats of violence. When you add two decades-plus of violent and dangerous criminal activity to the story, it is time for the government to firmly enforce its primary mission: to protect its citizens. It is Claud’s significant criminal history that qualified him as an armed career criminal, and it is because of that status that we are able to protect the community from him for years to come.”

According to court documents, Rondale Latte Claud, 42, was inside a vehicle that pulled up to a fuel pump at a 7-Eleven on Jefferson Avenue in Newport News in June 2018 at approximately 2:00am with three other individuals. While one individual pumped gas into the vehicle, three other individuals, including Claud, entered the store. Upon exiting the store, Claud encountered a 7-Eleven employee on break outside talking to a friend in the parking lot. Unprovoked, Claud harassed and threatened the employee with violence, shouting at her as he walked back to the vehicle. With Claud in the passenger seat, the vehicle exited the 7-Eleven, drove past the employee still outside, and Claud rolled down his window, pointed a gun at her face, and then pointed the firearm in the air and fired four shots. He fired four more shots in the air as the vehicle exited the 7-Eleven. No one was injured. 

Although the gun was never recovered, investigators used the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), to match the shell casings from the 7-Eleven incident with shell casings from a homicide occurring three days later. Claud is not believed to be connected with the homicide but refused to assist law enforcement with the investigation.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, and Steve R. Drew, Chief of Newport News Police, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter G. Osyf is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:18-cr-91.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated May 3, 2019