“Laser Sight”: Charleston Felon Convicted in Federal Court on Federal Gun Charges Following Two-Day Trial
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Garndell Jerome Macon, Jr., 32, from Charleston, South Carolina, was convicted in federal court on two felon in possession of a firearm counts after a two-day trial before United States District Court Judge David Norton. He faces a potential twenty-year sentence in federal prison.
United States Attorney Drake recognized the work of the Charleston Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which investigated the case. “We are working with our state and local law enforcement partners to address violence in our communities. The federal firearm laws allow us to do that in an effective and expeditious manner.”
ATF Special Agent in Charge C.J. Hyman said, “ATF appreciates our strong working relationship with the Charleston Police Department and the USAO. We are committed to reducing violent crime and apprehending violent offenders. This collaborative effort and the resulting conviction showcases what can be accomplished as we continue to work together to keep our communities safe.”
Evidence presented during trial established that on October 7, 2015, the City of Charleston Police Department, responding to complaints by management of an apartment complex about people loitering and selling drugs on their property, did a drive through of the parking lot.
When the officers drove into the parking lot, they observed a number of individuals around a Honda CRV, loitering, including Macon. The smell of marijuana was in the air and they saw one of the men place a digital scale on the hood of the Honda. The people near the car scattered as soon as the police car arrived. The officers checked the car and found drug paraphernalia (the scale, multiple plastic baggy pieces, and cigar wrappings). The scale was on the hood. An officer in another unit was set up in an observation post in an adjacent parking lot to conduct surveillance.
That officer, close in distance, with the scene illuminated by streetlights, could see the Honda from where he was stationed and he could also see the front of the apartment complex. He saw Macon walk out of the complex lobby. Macon looked about nervously and walked over to the Honda and picked up the scale from the hood. He went around and opened the rear driver’s side passenger’s door of the CRV, bent down, picked up a gun, and stood up. The officer on the surveillance post alerted the other officers who rapidly responded. When they came into the parking lot, Macon began sprinting towards the entrance of an apartment building. He made it into the door and ran down the hall into an apartment.
The officers quickly followed, chasing him as he ran into the building. A video captured his entry. In a still photograph, the defendant can be seen carrying the gun, equipped with a laser sight. The laser light can also be seen projected on the floor of the lobbying as Macon scurried toward an apartment inside.
The officers located Macon inside an apartment within the complex with children present, sitting in a chair, perspiring and out of breath. The officers found a Glock .45 caliber pistol stashed between the mattress and the box springs in a bedroom in the apartment. The laser light was still on. The weapon was loaded with thirteen rounds in the magazine and one round was chambered.
Officers then returned to the unlocked Honda. On the driver’s side passenger seat rear floorboard (behind the driver’s s eat) officers saw a black handgun.
This second gun was a loaded .40 caliber Smith and Wesson XD with a round in the chamber. The officers retrieved the weapon and the digital scale which the officers had seen on the hood of the car earlier. The gun and the drug scale were recovered from the same location in the Honda where officers had observed Macon grab the Glock .40 caliber just moments earlier.
Ms. Drake advised that Assistant United States Attorney Sean Kittrell tried the case for the government. Kittrell said that the case is a small snapshot of what the police in Charleston do every day. “They confronted an armed and convicted felon. They were running into danger and not away from it. They did what they do, every day, protecting people first and places second, on behalf of all of us.”
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
District of South Carolina