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Press Release

Chicago Man Sentenced To More Than 16 Years In Federal Prison For Shooting ATF Agent

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A federal judge today sentenced a Chicago man to more than 16 years in prison for shooting an agent from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

ERNESTO GODINEZ shot the agent on May 4, 2018, in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago.  At the time of the early morning shooting, the agent and several law enforcement officers were conducting a covert investigation in the 4300 block of South Hermitage Avenue.  The agent was wounded in the head but survived.

A federal jury earlier this year convicted Godinez, 29, of both counts against him, including one count of assault of a federal officer, and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.  U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber imposed a sentence of 16 years and eight months in prison.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Timothy Jones, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of ATF.  Substantial assistance was provided by the Chicago Police Department, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and Illinois State Police.

“The depravity of the defendant’s crime is remarkable,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kavitha J. Babu and Nicholas J. Eichenseer argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.  “This was indiscriminate, deadly violence by a recidivist shooter.  It is critical that assaults on law enforcement be met with serious punishment.”

“The primary goal of our violent crime prosecutions is to ensure public safety,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch.  “To that end, we will continue to aggressively prosecute repeat violent offenders like Defendant Godinez in order to hold them accountable for their reprehensible conduct and to deter others from committing similar crimes.  I commend the AUSAs, agents, and officers involved in this case for their outstanding work to seek justice.  Our office will continue to use every available federal law enforcement tool to investigate, prosecute, and seek stiff prison sentences for those offenders who illegally use, possess, or transfer firearms.”

“This experience emboldens us to continue in our efforts to reduce gun violence in the city of Chicago,” said ATF SAC Jones.  “We stand together with the families of all victims of violence in our city as they seek the closure we found today.  We commit all of ATF’s resources to investigate violent crimes in partnership with the Chicago Police Department to ensure that offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Updated December 4, 2019