Memphis, TN – Christopher Tomlinson, 32, has been sentenced to 63 months in federal prison for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the sentence today.
According to information presented in court, on March 16, 2018, Memphis Police Department officers were on routine patrol at Rayburn Street and East Waldorf Avenue, when they observed a red Honda Accord parked more than twelve inches from the curb facing southbound with the driver’s side door fully open on to traffic. Tomlinson quickly exited the vehicle, and officers exited their squad car and told Tomlinson to stop while identifying themselves as police officers. Tomlinson did not stop; he fled on foot.
Officers observed Tomlinson holding a black and green gun in his right hand as they continued to give verbal commands to drop the gun and to stop. Officers located and detained Tomlinson behind a house on Patton Street. While searching Tomlinson, he attempted to pull away and run from the officers.
Later, an anonymous citizen advised law enforcement that Tomlinson threw something in the window of an abandoned house on Patton Street. Officers looked through the window of the house and observed a black and green gun, covered in mud, laying on the floor. Officers recovered a Springfield Armory 9mm caliber pistol. The gun was loaded with one live round in the chamber. Also recovered from the Honda Accord was a clear plastic baggy containing a green leafy substance and two scales from the front passenger seat. The green leafy substance tested positive for 0.8 grams of a total gross weight for marijuana.
On the morning of March 2, 2020, the day his jury trial was to begin, the defendant pled guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. As a result of his prior felony convictions, including aggravated robbery and felon in possession of a firearm, Tomlinson is prohibited by federal law from possession of firearms or ammunition. Further, Tomlinson was on supervised release status at the time of this new federal firearms offense.
On August 27, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge John T. Fowlkes, Jr., sentenced Tomlinson to 63 months imprisonment followed by two years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, “Convicted felons who possess firearms are an inherent danger to community, and this defendant continued to possess a firearm despite his prior violent felony conviction history and supervised release status. This gun-toter has clearly not learned his lesson, and will now be rightly punished and removed from our streets for 5 years.”
The Memphis Police Department and Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force investigated this case. The Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative is a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. In 2017, PSN was reinvigorated as part of the Justice Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy K. Cornejo and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Griffith prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.