For Immediate Release
Convicted Felon Charged with Possessing Loaded Firearm at Columbus Protest
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A federal complaint alleging possession of a firearm by a convicted felon has been filed against Ronnie Earl Murdock Jr, 31, of Columbus.
According to an affidavit filed with the complaint on Friday afternoon, an officer in the Columbus Police Emergency Operations Center monitoring a demonstration near Broad and Front streets on June 24 recognized Murdock and saw Murdock holding a rifle. The officer knew that Murdock was a convicted felon and not allowed to own, possess or control a firearm.
Columbus SWAT officers responded and arrested Murdock. Officers recovered a semiautomatic 2.23-caliber rifle with 31 live rounds of ammunition in the magazine.
Murdock pleaded guilty in Franklin County Common Pleas Court in October 2007 to attempted burglary and in October 2016 to robbery. Both crimes are felonies. Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is punishable by up to ten years in prison. A judge will schedule a hearing for Murdock in federal court.
“Peaceful protests can turn into tragedies if illegal possession of firearms becomes part of the mix,” said David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.
Mr. DeVillers, along with Jonathan McPherson, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan announced the charge. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin M. Kelley is representing the United States in this case.
A criminal complaint merely contains allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.