For Immediate Release
East St. Louis Man Sentenced to 51 Months for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
Al Stewart Jr., 21, from East St. Louis, Illinois, was sentenced today to 51 months in federal prison for unlawful possession of a firearm while being a user of a controlled substance. Stewart pled guilty to the charges in June and has been in federal custody since his arrest last August. He will serve a three-year term of supervised release following his imprisonment.
Documents filed in the case establish that on Aug. 23, 2019, Stewart was living on the left side of a duplex in East St. Louis, next door to Christopher R. Grant, when shots were fired through the door of the right side of duplex, killing Illinois State Police Trooper Nicholas Hopkins. Hopkins was on the front porch preparing to execute a state search warrant for evidence of drug distribution and weapons possession at the house.
During a subsequent search of both sides of the duplex, Illinois State Police crime scene investigators recovered a total of nine firearms and several magazines of ammunition. On the left side of the duplex where Stewart was living, investigators found a Glock .40 caliber handgun in a kitchen cabinet. The gun was fully loaded with an extended magazine. In a post-arrest interview, Stewart said that he had been sleeping in the left-side bedroom when he heard loud noises outside. He admitted that he grabbed the gun and went to the front window but told investigators that he put the gun back when he heard the officers announce “Illinois State Police.” Stewart also admitted that he was a regular user of cannabis.
Christopher R. Grant was indicted by a federal grand jury in March 2020 in which it is alleged, among other offenses, that Grant used a firearm to commit murder in relation to a drug trafficking crime, causing the death of Trooper Nicholas Hopkins. Grant’s case is still pending, and he is presumed innocent of the charges unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation was conducted by the Illinois State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.