Baltimore Felon Sentenced to Seven Years in Federal Prison for Illegal Possession of a Firearm
Fired the Gun at Two People to Settle a Dispute
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett today sentenced Justin Hopkins, age 28, of Baltimore, Maryland, to seven years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Rob Cekada of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
“Justin Hopkins illegally possessed a firearm, which he fired at the father of his girlfriend’s child—in front of the child—in order to settle a dispute” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Hopkins will now serve more than seven years in federal prison, where there is no parole—ever. We must change the culture of gun violence in Baltimore. Please, put down the gun. You may save a life, including your own.”
According to his guilty plea, on February 22, 2018, Hopkins and his girlfriend were awaiting the arrival of her son at their residence in the 1900 block of McCulloh Street in North Baltimore. Prior to the child arriving at the residence, Hopkins and the child’s father, D.J., who was bringing the child to the house, had engaged in verbal altercations that involved threats of physical harm.
Hopkins was waiting outside when D.J. arrived at the house with his girlfriend, K.C., and his child. The two men immediately confronted each other. D.J. challenged Hopkins to a fight, and after exchanging threats, Hopkins stated, “I got something for you,” and went into the house. Within 30 seconds, Hopkins leaned out of a top floor window, pointing a gun at D.J. and K.C. D.J. walked into the middle of the street, daring Hopkins to shoot him. Hopkins fired multiple rounds, missing D.J. D.J. and his girlfriend entered the car to flee and Hopkins shot again, shattering the sunroof of their vehicle. D.J. and K.C. called the police and multiple officers responded.
D.J. and K.C. flagged down an officer in the area and pointed to Hopkins from half-a-block away. The officer saw Hopkins running away with a silver backpack with spikes on it. Officers followed Hopkins through a park to the 500 block of Presstman Street, where Hopkins emerged from the park and was apprehended, but without the backpack. An officer returned to the park and recovered a silver backpack matching the description of the backpack carried by Hopkins. Inside the backpack, officers recovered a .22-caliber short barreled rifle and spent ammunition. The barrel and handle of the rifle had been sawed off, with a barrel length less than 16 inches. Hopkins was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition as a result of a previous felony conviction. When Hopkins saw the officer emerging from the park with the backpack, he fled again, but was recaptured by officers a block away. After his arrest, Hopkins made a recorded jail call to his girlfriend and admitted shooting at the vehicle driven by D.J.
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. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) 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.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the ATF and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Goldsticker and David Metcalf, who prosecuted the case.
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