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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Shooting at a Car Sends Drug User Who Unlawfully Possessed Two Guns to Federal Prison for More than Eight Years

A drug user who shot at a car containing two people and unlawfully possessed twelve firearms was sentenced August 4, 2020, to more than eight years in federal prison.

Kashad Elijah Hawthorne, age 20, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison term after a February 24, 2020 guilty plea to possession of a firearm by a drug user. 

Information from sentencing and a plea agreement showed that on May 2, 2019, Cedar Rapids police officers recovered a gun from a car in which Hawthorne had been a passenger.  Officers also found a gun in another car Hawthorne was riding in on May 16, 2019.  Hawthorne admitted that, on April 22, 2019, he used one of the two guns to shoot at a car containing two people.  No one was injured during the incident.  Photographs and videos from Hawthorne’s social media accounts showed him posing with firearms on at least thirteen occasions. 

Hawthorne was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Hawthorne was sentenced to 100 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN).  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.

This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.  For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/ag/page/file/1217186/download.

Hawthorne is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kyndra Lundquist and investigated by the Cedar Rapids Safe Streets Task Force.  The task force is composed of representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cedar Rapids Police Department.

Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl

The case file number is 19-CR-121.

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Topic(s): 
Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Updated August 6, 2020