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Press Release

Altercation in North Seattle leads to federal gun charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Felon caught with sawed-off shotgun following fight

Seattle - A repeat offender who got into a fight with a man in North Seattle made his initial appearance today on a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.  CHRISTOPHER TOLLIVER, 46, was transferred to federal custody today following his arrest by Seattle Police on April 7, 2020.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, Seattle Police were called to the scene of a fight in the 9700 block of Woodlawn Avenue North.  Witnesses reported seeing two men in an argument, with one holding a baseball bat.  Police located the person with the bat, who said items had been stolen from his car the night before, and he identified TOLLIVER as the person who had stolen them.  The man had confronted TOLLIVER about the theft and had carried the bat because he believed TOLLIVER carried a shotgun.

TOLLIVER had left the area on a scooter, but was quickly located by police.  Nearby they found various bags matching the description of the bags that witnesses had seen in TOLLIVER’s possession at the scene of the altercation, including a backpack with a loaded, sawed-off shotgun inside. 

TOLLIVER has multiple prior felony convictions from King County Superior Court, including a 2001 Manslaughter conviction, a 2011 drug conviction, and a 1995 conviction for assault with a deadly weapon.  TOLLIVER is therefore prohibited from possessing firearms.

Being a felon in possession of a firearm is punishable by up to ten years in prison.

The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations.  A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws.  Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence and enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes.  Project Guardian ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.  More information about Project Guardian is here.

The case is being investigated by the Seattle Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tobias Tobler.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated July 10, 2020

Project Guardian
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Firearms Offenses