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Press Release

Hattiesburg Felon Convicted of Possessing a Firearm

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

Hattiesburg, Miss. – A Hattiesburg man pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Kurt Thielhorn with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

According to court documents, on April 25, 2019, Derrick Keys, 34, of Hattiesburg, was the driver of a vehicle pulled over by Hattiesburg Police Department officers near Mobile Street in Hattiesburg.  During the stop, Keys began to flee in the motor vehicle, leading police on a miles-long chase through a residential zone.  Keys eventually abandoned his vehicle and began to flee on foot.  Hattiesburg Police officers found Keys a short distance later, as well as a firearm that he discarded while fleeing on foot.  Keys later admitted to possessing the firearm.

Keys was originally indicted for this offense on March 16, 2021.  He will be sentenced on November 10, 2021, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Hattiesburg Police Department investigated the case.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew W. Eichner.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, 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.

Updated July 28, 2021

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses