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Press Release

Granite City Man Heads Back to Prison After Ditching Firearm on a Playground During Police Pursuit

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

BENTON, Ill. – In a U.S. District Court on Thursday, a Granite City man was sentenced to seven years in federal prison after possessing a firearm as a felon while out on supervised release from previous gun convictions.

Donnie A. Sherrell, 30, pled guilty to one count of Possession of a Firearm as a Felon. After serving his sentence, he will receive three years of supervised release.

“It’s disappointing when individuals don’t learn from their mistakes, and the defendant’s reckless decisions have rightfully landed him back in federal prison,” said U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe. “I appreciate the tenacity by law enforcement to pursue this criminal on foot, and I’m relieved the firearm was recovered without incident.”

“The Illinois State Police will always go the extra mile to protect the public and pursue repeat offenders who continue to break the law,” said Illinois State Police Major Gregg Cavanaugh.

According to court documents, the defendant was the passenger in a car during a traffic stop by law enforcement on July 20, 2022. When the police officer asked Sherrell to step out of the vehicle, the defendant told the driver to go, and a car chase ensued.

Sherrell jumped out of the car with a gun, and the chase continued on foot. The defendant scaled a fence to a playground at an elementary school in Madison, Illinois, ­where he was on surveillance video ditching the firearm. After Sherrell was apprehended, police officers located a Mossberg .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol a few feet away from the playground.

In March 2015, Sherrell was sentenced to 70 months in prison and three years of supervised release on two counts of Sale of a Weapon to a Convicted Felon and two counts of Possession of a Weapon by a Felon.

ISP led the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Reppert prosecuted the case.

Updated January 26, 2023