BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A federal jury has convicted a man on multiple firearms charges in connection with a bizarre incident that happened at a Baton Rouge Walmart in August of 2019 in which a man armed with scissors and another legally carrying a gun got into an altercation that caused a bit of a panic.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Thursday, Aug. 8, 2020 the conviction of Robert Tucker Jr., 45, of Baton Rouge. A grand jury indicted Tucker on July 2, charging him with three counts of making false statements to a federally licensed firearms dealer, possession of a firearm by a person adjudicated as a mental defective, and possession of ammunition by a person adjudicated as a mental defective.
The DOJ says after the three-day trial before Chief Judge Shelly Dick, the jury unanimously convicted Tucker.
Evidence at trial showed Tucker was adjudicated as a mental defective back in December of 2011, meaning it was determined by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority that he is a danger to himself or others due to subnormal intelligence, mental illness, incompetency, or some other condition or disease.
Further evidence showed on three different occasions after this adjudication, Tucker tried to buy firearms from various licensed dealers. During these attempts, Tucker filled out forms, on which he falsely said he had never been adjudicated as a mental defective. After signing the forms, the DOJ says Tucker submitted the forms to the dealers, who then transferred the info to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The firearms and ammo charges stem from the bizarre incident at Walmart, which happened back on Aug. 6, 2019, and another, separate incident. The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office detained Tucker after the incident and discovered a loaded Ruger firearm on his person, the DOJ says. Then on June 8, 2020, Tucker was found to be in possession of 41 rounds of 9mm ammo and 38 rounds of .22 caliber ammo.
Tucker faces a maximum prison sentence of ten years, significant fines, restitution, and supervised release.
“I want to commend the courageous and bold action of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s officers who swiftly responded to an active shooter situation and ATF for their critical assistance. This conviction rightfully removes Mr. Tucker from the community and underscores the importance of enforcing federal firearms violations. I commend our dedicated law enforcement personnel and our prosecution team for their outstanding efforts to prepare and present this case to the jury,” said U.S. Attorney Brandon Fremin.
“Mental illness is a serious concern in our communities. This case illustrates the inherent dangers of a mentally ill person possessing firearms,” said ATF New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Kurt Thielhorn. “Thanks to the swift reaction by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, the situation was contained without it turning tragic. ATF will continue to work hand-in-hand with our state and local partners to keep our communities safe.”
“The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office is grateful for the partnership we have with the U.S. Attorney and his dedication to prosecuting these cases on the federal level,” Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said. “We will continue to dedicate our personnel and resources to initiatives that ensure the safety of our community.”
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