Skip to main content
Press Release

Zohannon Gang Member Sentenced to Prison for Illegally Possessing Firearms in Columbus

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia

COLUMBUS, Ga. – A confirmed member of the Columbus-based Zohannon criminal street gang who is also a convicted felon was sentenced to serve federal prison time this week for illegally possessing two semiautomatic weapons, one was stolen and the other had two loaded magazines attached with a brass catcher—a device designed to capture spent bullets.

Bernard Shaw, 23, of Columbus, was sentenced to serve 60 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release by U.S. District Clay Land on April 13 after he pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon on Dec. 7, 2022. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Armed repeat criminals caught with guns in Columbus are facing federal prosecution—where the penalties include prison time without parole,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is acutely aware of the pressing violent crime problems plaguing the Columbus community; alongside our law enforcement partners, we are tirelessly working to prevent more shooting deaths and reduce violent crime.”

“Despite prior felony convictions, Shaw continued his criminal lifestyle” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “This sentence sends the message that the FBI and our law enforcement partners are determined to make our streets safer by removing violent felons and holding them accountable with prison terms and no opportunity for parole.”

According to court documents, on April 24, 2022, Columbus Police Department (CPD) officers were on uniform patrol when they observed a vehicle traveling on Dawson St. in Columbus with multiple traffic violations. The driver, Tyquerrius Ford, did not immediately stop and when he did, he did not have a license and attempted to walk away from the officers and was detained. Shaw, who was a passenger, leaned against the door to prevent the officer from accessing the vehicle, then got out of the car and fled the scene. Officers found a loaded Glock Model 17 pistol with an extended 31-round magazine in the driver’s seat. The firearm had been illegally modified with an automatic selector switch, allowing the operator of the firearm to continuously fire bullets with one pull of the trigger. In the passenger seat of the vehicle, there was a green bookbag containing a stolen Springfield XD semiautomatic pistol belonging to Shaw. Officers also found bags of marijuana, a scale and 100 small baggies.

On July 22, 2022, Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) deputies and FBI agents located Shaw seated inside a car in the parking lot of the AutoZone on Buena Vista Road in Columbus. He was quickly detained; officers found a loaded Del-Ton 5.56 semiautomatic rifle with two 30-round magazines taped together containing a total of 37 rounds in both magazines belonging to Shaw. Additionally, a brass catcher was mounted on the firearm. Shaw was arrested and his cell phone and rifle were seized.

Shaw has prior convictions in Jefferson County Circuit Court, Louisville, Kentucky, to include theft by taking and fleeing police. Shaw is also a confirmed member of Zohannon, a Columbus-based criminal street gang. It is illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm.

The case was investigated by FBI, CPD and MCSO.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Williams is prosecuting the case for the government.

Updated April 17, 2023