(USDOJ.Today) United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced today the conviction of Robert Earl Tucker, Jr., age 45, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Tucker was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 2, 2020, and charged with three counts of making false statements to a federally licensed firearms dealer, one count of possession of a firearm by a person adjudicated as a mental defective, and one count of possession of ammunition by a person adjudicated as a mental defective.
After a three-day trial before U.S. Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick, the jury unanimously convicted Tucker. As the evidence at trial demonstrated, Tucker was adjudicated as a mental defective in December 2011. On three separate occasions after this adjudication, he attempted to purchase firearms from various licensed firearms dealers. During the attempted purchases, Tucker completed forms, on which he falsely stated that he had not ever been adjudicated as a mental defective. After signing the forms, Tucker submitted the forms to the licensed dealers, who transmitted the information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The firearm and ammunitions charges were based on two separate incidents. On August 6, 2019, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office responded to a dispatch regarding an armed individual at the Wal-Mart store located at 10550 Burbank Drive in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. That individual was later identified as Tucker. He was detained and searched for weapons, during which a loaded Ruger firearm was discovered. Subsequently, on June 8, 2020, Tucker was found to be in possession of forty-one (41) rounds of 9mm ammunition and thirty-eight (38) rounds of .22 caliber ammunition.
As a result of his convictions, Tucker now faces a maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison, significant fines, restitution, and supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Fremin stated, “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.”
“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.”
This matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with critical assistance from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Eli J. Abad and Demetrius D. Sumner.