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Press Release

Convicted Felon Charged with Illegally Possessing Semi-Automatic Rifle at Veterans Affairs Hospital in Chicago

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

CHICAGO — A convicted felon has been charged with a federal firearm violation for allegedly illegally possessing a semi-automatic rifle at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago.

BERNARD HARVEY, JR., 40, of Indianapolis, Ind., is charged with one count of illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  Harvey illegally possessed the rifle on Aug. 12, 2019, at the medical center, 820 S. Damen Ave. in Chicago, according to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed today in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  Harvey is scheduled to make an initial court appearance today at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan E. Cox.

The complaint was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI; and Eddie Johnson, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.  The Jesse Brown VA Police Department provided valuable assistance.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey B. Rubenstein.

Holding convicted felons accountable through federal prosecution is a centerpiece of Project Safe Neighborhoods – the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction strategy.  In the Northern District of Illinois, U.S. Attorney Lausch and law enforcement partners have deployed the PSN program to attack a broad range of violent crime issues facing the district, including by prosecuting individuals who illegally possess firearms.

According to the complaint, Harvey entered the Taylor Street entrance of the medical center while holding the rifle.  Law enforcement officers saw Harvey in the clinic area and ordered him to drop the rifle, which he did, the complaint states.  The officers then ordered Harvey to the ground and placed him under arrest.

Harvey was previously convicted in the Circuit Court of Cook County of multiple felonies, including gun offenses, and he was not lawfully allowed to possess a firearm.  The rifle in Harvey’s possession at the VA medical center had been reported stolen last month from a federal firearms licensee in Indiana, the complaint states.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is punishable by up to ten years in prison.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Updated August 13, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime