NORFOLK, Va. – A Suffolk man was sentenced today to 70 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
“This case shows the horrific violence that organized criminal gangs threaten our communities with,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Depravity and violence follow gang activity. It’s our innocent by-standing citizens that are put most at-risk by these activities. I would like to thank our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners for their help in this case and in protecting our community members from the threat of gang violence.”
According to court documents, Tamarrea Deyon Walker, 25, is a member of the Suffolk-based criminal street gang “YNGI.” In April 2019, Walker and a fellow gang member brandished firearms and shot at two rival gang members, who fled to their vehicle and drove away. Walker and four other YNGI members piled into their own car and gave chase. The two groups shot at each other while the cars were moving. The driver of Walker’s car was shot in the chest with a rifle, which caused him to slam on the gas, speed through an intersection, and crash head-on into another vehicle.
“Reckless actions by violent criminals are a dangerous threat to our community,” said Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office. “The only way to defeat this type of gang violence is for law enforcement to work together as one team, and the Tidewater Violent Crimes Task Force represents the commitment of law enforcement partners at every level to target the gangs and criminal enterprises that drive violent crime in Hampton Roads.”
Police officers arrived at the accident scene soon after and saw Walker rummaging around the vehicle and an extended 9mm magazine lying on the ground by his feet. The officers also recovered from the wreckage more than 30 grams of heroin and four firearms, including a Masterpiece Arms 9mm handgun. A photo of Walker holding the Masterpiece Arms handgun, loaded with that same extended magazine, was posted on his Instagram account just days earlier.
“This case serves as a stark reminder of the violence and fear caused by criminal street gangs in our communities,” said Alfred Chandler, Chief of Police for the City of Suffolk. “This conviction is also a reminder of the effectiveness of hard work and relentless investigation and teamwork between federal, state, and local law enforcement.”
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. Click here for more information about Project Guardian.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Alfred Chandler, Chief of Police for the City of Suffolk, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen. Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:19-cr-187.