For Immediate Release
Columbia Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Firearm Following Street Shooting
Project Safe Neighborhoods
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A Columbia, Mo., man who was arrested following a street shootout in a residential neighborhood pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally possessing a firearm.
Richard Sterling Jones, 25, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Willie J. Epps, Jr., to being a drug user in possession of a firearm.
According to today’s plea agreement, Columbia police officers were dispatched to the 4600 block of Rice Road at approximately 10:19 p.m. on June 24, 2018, in response to shots fired. When the officers arrived, they located numerous 9mm and .223-caliber spent shell casings along Rice Road. Officers spoke to numerous residents along Rice Road, who reported their residences and vehicles had been struck by gunfire.
Witnesses told police officers they saw a silver Pontiac Grand Prix, which they believed was involved in the shooting, quickly leave the area. Officers located Jones, who was sitting in a silver Grand Prix, shortly afterward, and he was detained. Officers searched his vehicle and found a bag of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Jones admitted that he fired several rounds from his AR-15 style rifle into the air in front of a residence on Rice Road. Jones drove to another residence and hid the firearm under a mattress in one of the bedrooms. Jones also admitted to using and selling marijuana. Officers executed a search warrant at the residence and found a loaded SOTA Arms multi-caliber rifle where Jones had hidden it.
Under federal statutes, Jones is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron M. Jolly. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Columbia, Mo., Police Department.
Project Safe Neighborhoods
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, and local law enforcement to specifically identify criminals responsible for significant violent crime in the Western District of Missouri. A centerpiece of this effort is Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone.
This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at