Antonio L. Bender, 20, of Nashville, Tennessee, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger, to 12 years in prison on federal firearms and obstruction of justice charges, announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee. There is no parole in the federal system.
Bender was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 10, 2017, on charges of being an unlawful drug user in possession of two firearms; possession of a stolen firearm; and obstruction of justice, by having photographs deleted from his Facebook account which showed him holding a pistol in each hand, in an attempt to impede a federal investigation. Bender pleaded guilty to these charges in December 2017.
According to documents filed with the court, Bender is a Rollin’ 60s Crips gang member and was released from juvenile custody in October 2016. On March 27, 2017, Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) officers were responding to a report of shots being fired in the area of the J.C. Napier and Tony Sudekum public housing developments. As they were responding, two officers heard more gunfire and got out of their patrol car to investigate. While on foot, they heard four to five more shots before seeing Bender, who was armed with two pistols equipped with a laser and a flashlight. Bender raised the pistols towards the officers and fired once, as the laser crossed the chest of one of the officers. The officer was not hit and Bender then fled on foot. The officers did not return fire because there were bystanders behind Bender, and they could not fire without endangering them.
The officers chased Bender, who surrendered a short distance away, after discarding the two pistols, a Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic and a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber semi-automatic, which had previously been reported stolen.
The subsequent investigation determined that Bender is an unlawful drug user and he had taken both pistols from an unknown man selling firearms a few weeks earlier. He was involved in a shooting earlier in the day on March 27, 2017, in which he shot a person who had sold one of his associates some fake cocaine. Multiple other shots struck and heavily damaged an occupied car nearby.
This case was investigated by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sunny A.M. Koshy is prosecuting the case.