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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 18, 2019

Convicted Felon Sentenced to More Than 6 Years in Federal Prison for Illegally Possessing Loaded Rifle on Chicago Train Platform

CHICAGO — A convicted felon has been sentenced to more than six years in federal prison for illegally possessing a loaded assault rifle on an elevated train platform in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

JORDAN WATKINS, 31, of Chicago, illegally possessed the gun on the morning of July 29, 2017, at the Chicago Transit Authority’s Belmont Station, which serves multiple elevated train lines.  The rifle was strapped across Watkins’s chest underneath his grey sweatshirt.  It was loaded and had one live round in the chamber.  Watkins was also carrying a messenger bag that contained two 30-round magazines, one of which was loaded with four rounds.  After a 911 call reported a man who “has a gun on him and like a really big clip,” multiple Chicago Police officers responded to the station and arrested Watkins on the southbound platform.

Watkins, who was on parole at the time he possessed the rifle, had previously been convicted of multiple felonies and was not legally allowed to possess a firearm.  He pleaded guilty last year in the federal case to one count of illegal possession of a firearm by a felon.  U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood on Wednesday sentenced Watkins to six years and four months in federal prison.

The sentence 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 Illinois Department of Corrections provided valuable assistance.

“By carrying a loaded assault rifle into a CTA station, Watkins committed a serious offense that jeopardized public safety,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Grayson S. Walker argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.

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.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Updated July 18, 2019