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Press Release

Firearms Offender, Prosecuted Under Safe Summer Program, Sentenced To 64 Months

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 Kalamazoo resident Juwara Jawan Compton, Jr., 32, was sentenced to 64 months in federal prison for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Compton was charged last October under Safe Summer 2023, a gun-violence enforcement program under which the U.S. Attorney’s Office committed to prosecute all firearms offenders who possess crime guns (that is, guns previously fired in the commission of a crime). The firearm Compton possessed was loaded, outfitted with an extended magazine, and modified with a “switch” that made it operate as a machinegun.

          “Our Safe Summer 2024 Program is underway right now and we mean what we say: We will federally prosecute all firearms offenders caught with crime guns,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “Mr. Compton carried an illegal machinegun equipped with an extended magazine, capable of inflicting mass destruction and senseless trauma. He will likely now serve years more in prison because he was prosecuted under the Safe Summer program. My team and our partners will not rest until every person, in every neighborhood, in every community is safe from violence.”

          According to court documents, in September 2023, officers responded to the area of the Thunderbird Bar in Kalamazoo after receiving a report of a possible felonious assault. On scene, they found a vehicle registered to Compton’s sister. On the backseat, Compton had left a handgun with an extended magazine. The gun was loaded with a round in the chamber. It was also equipped with a “switch” that converted the pistol to a fully automatic machinegun. Below is a photo of the firearm.

Photo of the handgun with an extended magazine.

          Compton possessed the gun in this case after sustaining multiple prior felony convictions, including domestic violence. His history includes an incident in which he threw a woman across a room multiple times and destroyed her cell phone and another incident in which he threw a paint can at his girlfriend and hit her in the head. He then threw her to the ground, placed his knee on her chest, pulled her hair, and bit her left arm. Finally, in 2020, he threatened yet another female victim with a metal pipe.

          “Individuals who choose a life of fear and violence to invoke criminal intimidation will be removed from our communities,” said ATF Detroit Special Agent in Charge James Deir. “Mr. Compton is a convicted felon possessing illegal firearms and a serial domestic violence abuser who is going to have a lot of free time to reflect on his consistent track record of illegal activity.”

          In sentencing Compton, Chief Judge Jarbou noted the serious nature of Compton’s crime noting that having a gun is made even more dangerous when that possession is coupled with someone with Compton’s criminal record. She noted that Compton’s criminal history, particularly his previous failures to complete periods of probation successfully, indicated that Compton “has no respect for the law” and had not ben deterred by criminal sentences he had received in the past.

          U.S. Attorney Mark Totten announced the Safe Summer 2024 program on May 23, 2024 in a press release and press conferences in Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo, Lansing, and Grand Rapids. Under this program, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will prosecute all cases that satisfy two criteria.  First, the case must involve a federal firearms offense. The two most common offenses are felon in possession, which prohibits previously convicted felons from possessing a gun, and possession of a machine gun, which generally prohibits persons from possessing fully automatic guns. Second, the case must involve a crime gun, which is any gun previously fired in the commission of a crime.  These criteria focus federal efforts on the few individuals driving gun violence in their communities.

          Gun violence is an acute problem across the United States. In 2021, for the first time ever, firearm-related injuries became the leading cause of death for American children, ages birth to 19, according to the New England Journal of Medicine (see also here). 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 declined since 2021, they remain high.

          Moreover, while gun violence has the potential to impact everyone, recent studies show that gun violence has a disparate impact on people of color.  A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that the disparity in shooting injuries among children before and after the pandemic in four major cities approximately tripled as between white children and children of color (Black, Hispanic, Asian).

          This case was investigated by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie M. Carowan prosecuted the case for the government.


Updated July 2, 2024

Firearms Offenses