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Press Release

California Man Sentenced for Illegal Possession of a Firearm, Driving Stolen Car

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

ABINGDON, Va. – A San Bernardino, California man, who stole a car in Kentucky and was stopped for speeding the following day in Marion, Virginia, was sentenced yesterday to 51 months in federal prison for possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon.

Christian Joseph Laxson McCool, 29, pleaded guilty in September 2021.

“We must be diligent in our efforts to keep firearms out of the hands of those who have lost the right to possess a weapon,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today. “Safe, responsible gun ownership is paramount to reducing gun crime in our neighborhoods.”

“This is a positive result of a job well done by ATF and our partners who work tirelessly to combat violent gun crime within our communities. We will continue to use all of our resources to disrupt the illegal possession of firearms, distribution of narcotics and other acts of violence within our community,” said ATF Washington Field Division Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson.

According to court documents, McCool was stopped for speeding in Marion on December 27, 2020. At the time of the traffic stop, McCool was the only occupant and informed officers he did not have a license.  However, he did admit to having a gun with him.

Following the officers’ commands, McCool exited the vehicle but fled before being taken into custody after a short pursuit on foot.  The vehicle McCool was driving had been reported stolen out of Kentucky the day before, and officers located a loaded, 9mm pistol under the front seat. In addition, officers found a loaded 9mm magazine, two syringes, and a small baggie containing what appeared to be methamphetamine.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Williamson, West Virginia Police Department, and the Marion Police Department investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lena L. Busscher prosecuted the case.

Updated January 6, 2022