Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Southern District of Indiana

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Joseph H. Hogsett, United States Attorney

Contact: Mary Bippus, Director of Community Relations
(317) 229-2403

U.S. Attorney’s Violent Crime Initiative Posts More Results

Armed Career Criminal Sentenced to Fifteen Years for Possession of a Firearm

INDIANAPOLIS — Joseph H. Hogsett, United States Attorney, announced today that Michael A. Cook, 29, Indianapolis, was sentenced to 15 years (180 months) in federal prison late yesterday by U.S. District Judge William T. Lawrence following his guilty plea to unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. This case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the ATF Achilles Task Force, and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) into an incident on the east side of Indianapolis in February of 2010.

Specifically, on February 19, 2010, IMPD officers attempted to stop a black Kia sedan in the 1500 block of South Tibbs Avenue in Indianapolis, for a routine traffic violation. When officers activated their emergency lights, however, the black Kia pulled into a church parking lot and the driver exited the vehicle and fled. As the driver ran, IMPD officers observed him reaching into the waist–band area of his trousers and the inside of his jacket before stumbling and falling momentarily next to a vehicle parked on the street. Despite the fall, the driver quickly got up and continued running for approximately one block before finally obeying officers’ commands to stop. The driver was subsequently apprehended and identified as Michael A. Cook.

While conducting a pat down search of Cook, IMPD officers noticed that Cook was wearing a black, nylon shoulder holster under his jacket. The shoulder holster was designed to carry a handgun, but the holster was empty. Officers quickly re–traced the path of the foot chase, and recovered a loaded Sig-Sauer, .40 caliber handgun lying underneath a vehicle near where Cook had fallen during the chase.

During the course of the investigation, ATF Achilles Task Force Officers examined the Sig–Sauer handgun and determined it was a functioning firearm. ATF agents and Task Force Officers also determined that the Sig–Sauer was not manufactured in the state of Indiana, making it a federal crime for Cook to possess it.

In imposing the 15 year sentence, Judge Lawrence noted Cook’s classification as an Armed Career Criminal under federal law, having amassed felony convictions for Theft/Receiving Stolen Property in March of 2000; separate convictions for Resisting Law Enforcement and Burglary in September of 2001; and convictions for Strangulation and Domestic Battery in June of 2007. The Armed Career Criminal designation places Cook in a category among the most violent offenders to appear in federal court and carries a significantly enhanced penalty, namely a mandatory minimum fifteen year prison sentence. As there is no parole in the federal system, Cook will serve at least 85% of his prison sentence before becoming eligible for release.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Rinka, who prosecuted the case for the government, Judge Lawrence also imposed three years supervised release following Cook’s release from prison. During the period of supervised release, Cook will be required to undergo drug testing and participate in an intensive drug treatment program.