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Press Release

Court Sentences Prior Felon For Possessing Firearm, Firing At Customer In Liquor Store Parking Lot

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Michigan

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten today announced that Julius Robinson, Jr., 27, of Kalamazoo, was sentenced to 97 months and three years’ supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm. In sentencing Robinson, U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Maloney noted, “It is a miracle no one was hurt…Mr. Robinson represents a very, very significant risk to the law abiding public and the community needs to be protected for a long time.”

          “Julius Robinson is a menace to his community and Kalamazoo is a safer place because of today’s lengthy sentence,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “In communities that experience gun violence, only a few individuals are responsible for driving that violence. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan is laser-focused on using our resources – and the lengthy federal sentences we often bring to the table – to incapacitate active shooters like Robinson.” He continued: “I’m thankful no one was harmed and grateful to the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, and the FBI who tracked Robinson down and brought him to justice.”

          While buying drinks from the Bronco Liquor Mart at 5036 W KL Avenue in Kalamazoo, Robinson got into an argument with another customer who was annoyed at the length of time Robinson was taking to complete his transaction at the check-out counter. Still inside the store, Robinson said to the other customer: “I’ll kill you in here, bro.” Robinson’s threat was not idle: he illegally possessed a .40 caliber Glock pistol with an extended magazine capable of housing 30 bullets. Robinson then followed the other customer out of the store into the parking lot. As the other customer walked away, got into his car, and drove away, Robinson fired four shots at the man, missing his target. The other customer did not pose a threat in any way prior to Robinson firing his gun.

          Members of the FBI’s Western Michigan Violent Crime Task Force identified Robinson through diligent forensic analysis of the evidence at the scene and review of the security footage at the store. Their investigation led to a search of Robinson’s home where they recovered the gun, still loaded, in Robinson’s bedroom.

Robinson Weapon

          While in jail for the shooting and possessing the firearm, Robinson phoned his girlfriend, who was present at the scene of the crime and drove the car as Robinson fled the liquor store. Robinson repeatedly directed his girlfriend to lie so he would escape justice for his crime.

          Furthermore, ballistics evidence from the gun indicated that Robinson fired the gun two weeks earlier in the same liquor store parking lot. This case is Robinson’s fourth firearm-related conviction.

          The court increased Robinson’s sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm on two grounds: his assault with intent to commit murder and his attempt to obstruct justice by instructing his girlfriend to lie on his behalf.

          “Mr. Robinson intended to cause harm and must be held accountable for placing everyone present that day in danger,” said Cheyvoryea Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “Today's sentencing would not have been possible without the strong partnerships between our office, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, and the U.S. Attorney's Office. We are unwavering in our commitment to safeguarding our communities by eliminating violent offenders who believe they can terrorize our communities with illegally possessed firearms.”

          “The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office works proudly with local, state, and federal partners, in continued efforts to reduce gun violence in Kalamazoo County and surrounding communities,” said Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller. “The effort in this case by investigators, the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office, and U.S. Attorney’s Office shows the commitment at every level to make Kalamazoo a safer community for all.”

          Gun violence is an acute problem across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. firearm homicide rate in 2021 was the highest documented since 1993. While the numbers have slightly declined since 2021, they remain high. Resources and information on the safe storage of firearms can be found by reviewing the U.S. Department of Justice Safe Storage of Firearms guide, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fact sheet, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives pamphlet. Anyone who possesses a gun must follow all local, state, and federal laws.

          This case was investigated by the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, and FBI. It is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement, and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.

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Updated May 28, 2024

Topic
Firearms Offenses