Wilkinson County man faces up to 15 years in federal prison for illegally possessing firearm while threatening to shoot and kill deputies – 41NBC News

Wilkinson County man faces up to 15 years in federal prison for illegally possessing firearm while threatening to shoot and kill deputies – 41NBC News

Christopher Thomas Ford, 57, threatened police with a shotgun
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MACON, Ga. (41NBC/WMGT) – Christopher Thomas Ford, a 57-year-old Toomsboro resident, faces up to 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to illegal possession of a firearm.

Ford, who the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia says has a violent criminal history, threatened to shoot and kill deputies executing an arrest warrant.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Office deputies went to Ford’s home on December 20, 2022, to execute an arrest warrant for terroristic threats. When deputies found Ford in a shed, he threatened them with a loaded black Omega 12-gauge shotgun, saying, “I’m not playing with you, I’m not going back to jail. You can kill me or I’ll kill you all.” Ford escaped into the woods but was arrested the next day when he returned home. His father had taken the shotgun from him while he was sleeping.

Ford admitted that he “wanted to commit suicide by calling the police,” knowing that he was not allowed to own firearms as a convicted felon. His previous convictions include cocaine possession, terroristic threats, aggravated assault and third-degree cruelty to children.

He pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon before U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell on July 8. He could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, followed by at least three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is set for Oct. 9.

“Convicted felons are prohibited from owning firearms. Our office will seek to pursue federal prosecutions against those who fail to comply with the law, particularly those with a violent criminal history,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “The Justice Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program aims to reduce violent crime and gun violence in order to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Our office is committed to supporting the efforts of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to achieve this goal.”

Robert Gibbs, senior supervisory resident agent for the FBI’s Macon office in Atlanta, says Wilkinson County is safer now that the guns are out of Ford’s hands.

“Had Ford pulled the trigger, the entire community would have been in danger,” Gibbs said. “We are grateful to the Wilkinson County police officers and Ford’s father for their actions. We are fully committed to working with all of our partners and using every tool available to stop the violence that is happening to the American people here in Georgia and across the country.”

Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Director Chris Hosey said the GBI will continue to leverage its partnership with local, state and federal agencies working to reduce violent crime.

“We will not tolerate actions that put our communities and law enforcement at risk, and we will work to ensure that dangerous criminals like Ford are no longer on the streets,” Hosey said.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement and communities to reduce violent crime and gun violence. On May 26, 2021, the Department of Justice launched a Violent Crime Reduction Strategy that strengthens PSN based on core principles: fostering community trust, supporting community violence prevention, establishing targeted enforcement priorities, and measuring results.

The case was investigated by the FBI, GBI and the Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Chief of Criminal Investigation Will Keyes is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government.