MINNEAPOLIS – A Cottage Grove man has pleaded guilty to illegal possession of firearms, announced United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger.
According to the defendant’s guilty plea and court documents, on November 14, 2022, law enforcement encountered Jason Steven Kearns, 38, in the driver’s seat of a truck outside of a restaurant in Woodbury. Kearns was known to law enforcement and had previously identified himself as a member of the Aryan Brotherhood gang. The officers called for backup and two Woodbury Police squad vehicles arrived and attempted to stop Kearns by activating their lights. One squad vehicle stopped in front of Kearns’s truck and the other approached from the side. Kearns accelerated his truck forward, ramming the police vehicle head-on. Kearns reversed his truck and drove into a curb and was pinned by the two police vehicles. Kearns exited his vehicle and ran from officers on foot to a parking lot across the street. Officers saw that Kearns had his right hand on what appeared to be a semiautomatic pistol. Officers drew their firearms and issued multiple commands to Kearns to drop his firearm. Kearns continued walking through the parking lot and then stopped and knelt down, still refusing to drop the firearm. Kearns stated to officers that he had a firearm in his hand. Eventually, Kearns dropped the firearm and surrendered and was taken into custody. The firearm, a Smith & Wesson 9mm semiautomatic pistol, was loaded with a round chambered and 11 rounds in the magazine. Kearns was also carrying a large knife on his person. Kearns later expressed regret that he had not fired at the arresting officers.
Because Kearns has previous felony convictions in Chisago, St. Croix, and Pierce Counties, including assault and armed robbery, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition at any time.
Kearns pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court before Senior Judge Michael J. Davis to one count of possessing a firearm as a felon. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Woodbury Police Department, and the Cottage Grove Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily A Polachek is prosecuting the case.