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Press Release

Trip to McDonald's with a Loaded Assault Rifle Leads to 9 Year Prison Sentence for Convicted Felon

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


Antoine D. Johnson, Jr., 28, of East St. Louis, Illinois, has been sentenced to 9 years in prison, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Steven D. Weinhoeft, announced today. Johnson had been charged in a federal indictment with one count of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He pleaded guilty to the charge in January 2019 and faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The federal case against Johnson arose on February 18, 2018, after police received a report of multiple shots fired into a family-occupied home in Washington Park earlier that morning, with injuries to two adults. During the ensuing investigation, officers with the East St. Louis Police Department surrounded a vehicle as it sat idling in the drive thru of the McDonald’s restaurant on State Street. Johnson was sitting in the front passenger seat of the vehicle holding a loaded Norinco SKS semi-automatic assault rifle. After Johnson and the driver refused to comply with commands to exit the vehicle, and upon observing Johnson’s rifle pointed in their direction, the officers opened fire. The driver attempted to flee but crashed the car into a pole beside the restaurant. Both occupants of the vehicle were arrested at the scene. Johnson sustained a gunshot wound to his hip and shrapnel damage to one of his eyes. The driver and the responding officers were uninjured.

At the time of his offense, Johnson was on probation in St. Clair County for a 2015 aggravated robbery conviction. Investigators were able to link both Johnson and the rifle to the Washington Park shooting, and as part of his plea deal with the United States, Johnson admitted firing 11 rounds into the residence on February 18 and agreed to plead guilty in St. Clair County Circuit Court to one count of aggravated battery with a firearm. His sentence in that case is expected to run consecutively to his federal sentence.

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

The case was jointly investigated by the East St. Louis Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys James G. Piper, Jr., and Alexandria M. Burns.

Updated April 22, 2019

Firearms Offenses