A Chicago man has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for carrying a gun during widespread looting in the downtown area on August 10, 2020. Javonte Williams, 27, might have gotten away if he didn’t slip and fall on broken storefront glass while running from police.
Police said they saw Williams carrying apparently stolen merchandise outside a looted store near State and Lake around 5 a.m. He ran, slipped on the shattered glass, then got back up and started running again while holding his waistband, according to police. That’s when his loaded a 9-millimeter handgun allegedly fell to the ground.
Cook County authorities initially charged the 28-year-old with unlawful use of a weapon and resisting police. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago later decided to pursue the matter in federal court.
Federal prosecutors announced U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall sentenced Williams to an 18-month term after he pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Williams has a previous felony conviction for gun possession, prosecutors said. He reportedly received probation in that case.
“Law enforcement uncovered multiple social media postings by Williams in which he boasted about looting in Chicago in the summer of 2020,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a media statement Friday.
“During a night of complete lawlessness in the city of Chicago, the defendant put himself at ground zero and endangered the lives of law enforcement, the general public, and himself by carrying a loaded firearm in his waistband,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher V. Parente wrote in a court filing.