Public Safety

U.S. Attorney, law enforcement officials highlight 31 federal gun cases to show efforts in addressing gun violence

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CEDAR RAPIDS — U.S. Attorney Peter Deegan Jr. and other law enforcement officials announced charges and arrests of 31 recent federal gun cases Wednesday to demonstrate how area agencies across Eastern Iowa are making the state safer by addressing the problem of gun crimes and violence.

“Historically, gun violence rises during the spring and summer months,” Deegan said during the news conference. “All too often, an unlawfully-possessed gun can lead to an act of gun violence. The Department of Justice and this office is committed to working with all of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to help keep our communities safe by taking unlawfully-possessed guns — and those who possess them — off the street.”

Deegan was joined by Donald Dockendorf, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Thomas Reinwart of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Waterloo Police Chief Dan Trelka; Cedar Rapids Deputy Chief Thomas Jonker; Iowa State Patrol Sgt. James Trainor; Dubuque Police Investigator Nicholas Schlosser; and Linn County Sheriff’s Capt. Greg McGivern.

Examples of charges made in recent weeks by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies include:

— Sejuan Marquise Walker, 22, of Coralville, on Jan. 29, was involved with stealing items, including a wallet and a Smith and Wesson 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, from a vehicle in Alburnett. Later that day, Walker used a credit card from the wallet at the Wal-Mart in Anamosa. Then in February, he was arrested outside an apartment complex in Coralville and the 9 mm handgun was later recovered from a clothes dryer in the apartment building.

— Alfred Washington, 39, of Cedar Rapids, on Nov. 1, 2017, Coralville officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on Washington, who refused to stop, eventually escaping from police. Later, Cedar Rapids officers attempted to stop him again and he fled from officers, at times reaching speeds of about 85 mph in a 35 mph zone. He eventually crashed his vehicle, fled on foot but was caught and arrested. Police found a 40 caliber pistol about 10 yards from where Washington was taken into custody. Washington was previously convicted on domestic violence charges.

— Shane Lee LaGrange, 35, of Cedar Rapids, on December 29, 2017, was stopped by Cedar Rapids police for driving with a suspended license and during a search of his vehicle they recovered a loaded Hi-Point 9 mm pistol which had previously been reported stolen. Police also found methamphetamine in his coat pocket. LaGrange has been previously convicted of at least, five felony offenses.

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If convicted on these charges, all men face a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release following any prison time.

Deegan and the other officials asked the public for help in tracking down defendants wanted for gun crimes. The fugitives are: Scott Francis Gilson; Riley Neff-Gonzales; Antonio Rodriguez Ross; Kenneth Lamont Sanders; Cleveland Swayne Cole Smith; and Davion Lashaun Trawick. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of is asked to contact Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at 319-232-5583, or 855-300-8477 or Linn County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-CS-CRIME (272-7463).

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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