For Immediate Release
Grand Rapids Gang Member Sentenced to Nearly a Decade in Federal Prison
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – U.S. Attorney Mark Totten announced that yesterday U.S. District Judge Jane M. Beckering sentenced Steven Chavez Phillips-Hall, age 30, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, to 115 months in federal prison for possessing firearms as a convicted felon, and for his role in gang-related shootouts during the summer of 2021.
Phillips-Hall, also known as “Bemis Steve,” has long been known to law enforcement as an active member of the Bemis Street gang in Grand Rapids. On March 11, 2021, officers with the Grand Rapids Police Department executed a search warrant on Phillips-Hall’s apartment while investigating him for assault and battery. In his apartment, law enforcement found two pistols fitted with large-capacity magazines. Months later, on August 9, 2021, members of the U.S. Marshals task force attempted to arrest Phillips-Hall on a felony warrant for carrying a concealed weapon. Phillips-Hall ran, leading law enforcement on a foot chase through a residential building near downtown Grand Rapids until he was finally apprehended. Phillips-Hall had in his possession a loaded pistol that, according to ballistics testing and cellphone location records, he had used three days earlier in a gunfight outside a bar in southwest Grand Rapids, which resulted in gunshot wounds to multiple innocent bystanders. Phillips-Hall’s apparent motive for that shooting was to retaliate against a rival gang that had ambushed him several weeks earlier in yet another shootout.
In sentencing Phillips-Hall, Judge Beckering emphasized his history of violence and “demonstrated willingness to use firearms” against others. She observed that, despite Phillips-Hall’s long “pattern of disrespect for the law” and prior jail sentences, “nothing has deterred the defendant’s behavior.” Judge Beckering added, “We cannot have lawlessness in our community.”
“Phillips-Hall has demonstrated an unconscionable disregard for the value of human life, and this sentence reflects the gravity of his crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “We will hold accountable those who use firearms to jeopardize innocent lives. My office is laser-focused on investigating and prosecuting the most violent offenders in West Michigan, and this sentence advances that important mission.”
“ATF is committed to the removal of violent repeat offenders who victimize and threaten the safety of our communities,” said ATF Detroit Special Agent in Charge Paul Vanderplow. “This sentence is indicative of our highly experienced Special Agents, utilizing unique information and intelligence programs to supplement our partnerships with local violent crime investigators and prosecutors which was critical to the success of this case.”
“This is an excellent example of the partnership between local and federal law enforcement working together to get violent criminals off our streets,” said Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom. “I am proud of the dedication and hard work of our officers to make Grand Rapids a safer place.”
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Grand Rapids Police Department, with important additional assistance provided by the United States Marshals Service and the Michigan State Police. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Castle.