DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Wisconsin

For Immediate Release

Friday, March 13, 2020
Scott C. Blader
, United States Attorney
Contact: Rita M. Rumbelow

Lacrosse Shooter Sentenced to 30 Months in Federal Prison

MADISON, WIS. - Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Robert J. Powell IV, 29, La Crosse, Wisconsin was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 30 months in prison, for possessing ammunition as a convicted felon. Powell pleaded guilty to this charge on October 10, 2019.

On July 28, 2019, Powell was patronizing bars in downtown La Crosse. At approximately 1:30 a.m., a fight started in the street and city cameras showed Powell remove a handgun from his rear waistband and discharge the gun into the air. Powell fled the scene, and one .380 shell casing and one round of .380 ammunition were recovered. Although the firearm Powell used was never recovered, federal law prohibits felons from possessing ammunition. Powell has two felony convictions, for Manufacture/Deliver Marijuana and Possession of Marijuana.

The charge against Powell was the result of an investigation conducted by the La Crosse Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rita M. Rumbelow.

This case has been brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the U.S. Justice Department’s program to reduce violent crime. The PSN approach emphasizes coordination between state and federal prosecutors and all levels of law enforcement to address gun crime, especially felons illegally possessing firearms and ammunition and violent and drug crimes that involve the use of firearms.


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St. Paul Field Division