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Press Release

Recent Incidents Involving AK-47 Style Weapons Result In Federal Firearms Charges Against Two Mid-State Men

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

Two mid-state men are facing federal firearms charges after recent incidents involving the use of assault rifles, announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran of the Middle District of Tennessee.

“Some people just aren’t getting the message when it comes to violent gun crime,” said U.S. Attorney Cochran.  “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our local, state and federal law enforcement partners have mounted an all-out assault on violent crime.  As evidenced here, when we bring federal charges for firearms offenses, we intend to seek justice swiftly - and that includes long prison sentences with no parole.”

Robert Johnson, 18, of Nashville, was charged yesterday in a criminal complaint with carjacking and using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. 

According to the complaint, on the evening of June 22, 2018, officers with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) located a stolen Hyundai vehicle in the James Cayce Public Housing Development.  When the officers attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver fled in the car and subsequently crashed near the Shell gas station, located at 1331 Briarville Road.  The complaint alleges that the driver then used a rifle and carjacked a Ford Fusion from the vehicle’s occupant at the Shell station and fled to the Charter Village Apartments in Madison, where he entered an occupied apartment.  The occupants of the apartment immediately fled and called police.

The MNPD SWAT Team subsequently arrived and took Johnson into custody.  Officers also recovered an AK-47 style assault rifle at the scene. 

If convicted, Johnson faces up to fifteen years in prison and an additional mandatory seven years, consecutive to any other sentence imposed.

In another prior incident on June 11, 2018, Raphael Mandez Utley, 32, of Springfield, Tennessee, was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm after Springfield police officers responded to a fight and shots being fired call on May 27, 2018.  Responding officers saw Utley standing next to a vehicle and holding a rifle over the roof of the car.  Officers also heard Utley exclaim, “Yeah, we gonna shoot the police, b—ch.”  When the officers turned around to approach Utley, he fled on foot and was apprehended a short distance away.  Springfield police officers recovered a loaded AK-47 style assault rifle in the bushes near the place they had initially observed him. 

Utley was found to have previously been convicted of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment in Robertson County, Tennessee.

Utley faces up to at least 10 years in prison, if convicted.

U.S. Attorney Cochran commended the response and investigation of these cases by the ATF; the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department; the Springfield Police Department; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McGuire, who is prosecuting the cases.

Charges in these cases are merely accusations.  The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 


David Boling
Public Information Officer

Updated June 26, 2018

Violent Crime