Orangeburg man pleads guilty to federal firearm charge stemming from shooting of officers
ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WIS) - An Orangeburg man has pleaded guilty to federal firearm charges after shooting at officers in May 2017.
Eugene Jonathan James, 20, pleaded guilty in federal court to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, according to United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon.
Evidence showed that at 12:36 a.m. on May 27, 2017, officers with the Cayce Department of Public Safety were running radar on Knox Abbott Drive when they saw a car traveling 15-20 mph over the speed limit.
In an attempt to make a traffic stop, a chase ensued across the Blossom Street Bridge into Columbia. At one point, the driver of the car appeared to stop. But when officers approached, the car sped off again.
Ultimately, the car stopped near the Riverwalk and the driver, later identified as James, fled on foot. James fled into the wood line off the Riverwalk and assumed a crouched position, which appeared to the officers to be lying in wait for them.
After threatening to use his taser to get James to comply, one officer heard gunshots and felt pain. That officer, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, was shot in the chest and leg and the other officer was shot in his leg. Officers returned fire and called for backup assistance.
Responding officers located James in the woodline with a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson lying at his feet. James had also been shot. Further investigation revealed that the car driven by James had been stolen during a carjacking in Orangeburg on May 14, 2017. The serial number of the firearm had been burned in an attempt to obliterate it; however, law enforcement was able to restore the serial number and determined that it had been stolen during the theft of a car in Orangeburg on May 15, 2017.
An examination of the firearm matched it to the fired bullet recovered from one of the officer's bulletproof vest and to a May 16, 2017, shooting incident in Orangeburg.
James is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition based upon an April 2017 Orangeburg conviction for 3rd degree burglary for which he received a probationary sentence. At the time of the instant offense, James was on state probation and out on state bond for an unrelated Richland County state charge stemming from a March 2017 incident.
James faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and 3 years of supervised release on the felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition charge.
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