Operation “REAL-TIME”: Man Who Discharged a Firearm at Fountain Inn Plant in May Enters Guilty Plea in Federal Court
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that David Jerome Butler, age 43, of Simpsonville, pled guilty this week in federal court in Greenville to felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. United States District Judge Bruce H. Hendricks accepted the plea and will impose sentence after United States Probation prepares a pre-sentence report. Butler faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that On May 5, 2017, at approximately 5:43 a.m., the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) received a call for service regarding an active shooter at Yanfeng Global Automotive Interiors in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. LCSO deputies and law enforcement officers from multiple agencies responded to the scene and successfully secured the premises. The alleged shooter, identified as David Jerome Butler, had already fled the scene and one victim was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Initial scene investigation, including victim and witness interviews, revealed that earlier in the morning while inside the building, Butler and a co-worker had gotten into an argument over a work situation that escalated into a physical confrontation. Butler then left the building and retrieved a handgun from his vehicle in the parking lot. Butler re-entered the building and confronted the co-worker on the plant floor. Butler pointed a Beretta 9mm pistol at the co-worker and fired a round that hit the floor and injured another worker. The co-worker, assisted by two other workers, fought Butler and took the gun away from him. Butler then fled the scene in his vehicle. ATF obtained a federal arrest warrant that same morning and arrested Butler upon his self-surrender to local authorities days later. He was detained upon his arrest and remains in custody. Butler, who is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition, faces a maximum of ten years in federal prison.
Butler’s case was expedited for federal prosecution pursuant to “Operation Real-Time.” The goal of this program is to identify individuals for federal prosecution with significant criminal histories who continue to actively possess firearms in the Upstate community. “Real Time” is a working collaboration between local, state, and federal law enforcement as well as state and federal prosecutors. Since August of 2015, the initiative has resulted in the expedited federal prosecution of over 120 defendants and seizure of over 160 firearms as well as assorted ammunition from prohibited persons in the upstate.
U.S. Attorney Beth Drake commended the partnership between local, state, and federal agencies that led to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the U.S. Attorney’s Office adopting the case. “We work best when we work together. This ‘real time’ identification of high risk offenders is smart policing and we welcome the opportunity to work alongside our state chiefs and sheriffs in taking violent repeat offenders out of our communities.”
The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and ATF investigated the case. First Assistant United States Attorney Lance Crick is prosecuting the case.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
District of South Carolina