DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Indiana

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Josh J. Minkler
, United States Attorney

Indianapolis Man With a Domestic Violence Conviction Charged With Illegal Possession of Firearm

Swinton pointed a firearm at a police officer

Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today, Donte Swinton, 25, Indianapolis, who on February 5, 2020 exited his vehicle and pointed what appeared to be an AR-15 style weapon, at an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department detective, was charged today with possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense.  

“Keeping our communities safe from violent criminals remains a top priority at the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Minkler. “Those individuals arrested and released by our criminal justice system who continue to wreak havoc on society by pointing a firearm directly at another person, which in this case was an IMPD officer, are on notice: you will be arrested, convicted, and go to federal prison.”

According to the criminal complaint, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) detectives were in the 2100 block of E. New York Street, Indianapolis, conducting covert surveillance due to a recent increase in armed street robberies. One IMPD detective was in an undercover police vehicle monitoring activity in the area when he observed a silver Mercury sedan slowly drive by his location and stop in his vicinity. A Dodge pickup truck then pulled up next to the sedan and the occupants began talking.

 The truck then pulled in front of the detectives’ vehicle and the sedan pulled up next to the detectives’ vehicle blocking it in. The occupant of the sedan began to yell at the detective. The detective thought the situation was about to turn into a robbery and that the person yelling was attempting to get him to exit his vehicle. The detective immediately requested assistance. The sedan backed up and pulled directly behind the detective’s vehicle while the pickup began to reverse towards the front of the officer’s vehicle in an attempt to “pin” the detective’s vehicle in place.

 The driver of the sedan exited the sedan holding what appeared to be an AR-15 style rifle and pointed it directly at the detective. The detective was able to maneuver around the pickup truck and move from his location.

 Another IMPD officer arrived on scene as the detective was maneuvering around the pickup. The backup officer drew his weapon and identified himself. The individual threw his firearm he was holding into the sedan. Other officers arrived on scene and were able to take the individual into custody and detain two passengers who were inside of the sedan. The individual driving the sedan, and who pointed the firearm at the officer, was identified as Donte Swinton.

Agents inspected the weapon alleged to have been possessed by Swinton and determined it was an Anderson Manufacturing 5.56, AR-15 style, semi-automatic pistol. The firearm was loaded with a thirty-round capacity magazine, with twenty-nine rounds in the magazine itself, and one in the chamber.

In 2017, Swinton was convicted of domestic battery by bodily waste in Marion Co., Ind. Swinton was sentenced to 365 days in jail with 327 days suspended and was to complete twenty six (26) weeks of domestic violence counseling. With this conviction, the court made a specific finding that Swinton had committed a crime of domestic violence, and as a result Swinton lost the right to possess a firearm and or ammunition.

A further check of Swinton’s criminal history revealed that he is currently on pre- trial release in two separate cases in Marion County Superior Court. On February 17, 2018, Swinton was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a domestic batterer, possession of a narcotic drug, maintaining a common nuisance, dealing in marijuana, and possession of marijuana. Additional, on May 1, 2019, Swinton was charged with obstruction of justice, a felony, and possession of marijuana. 

This case was the result of an investigation by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Jayson McGrath, who is prosecuting this case for the government, Swinton faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and up to three years of supervised release.

An indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in federal court.

In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the office’s firm commitment to targeting the District’s most violent geographic areas for the adoption of reactive federal drug and firearm prosecutions. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan Section 2.2.

Columbus Field Division