DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Mississippi

For Immediate Release

Friday, November 2, 2018
William C. Lamar
, United States Attorney
Contact: Susan Bradley

Lyric Shooter Pleads Guilty

OXFORD – A Memphis, Tennessee man has pled guilty to federal firearms charges relating to his role in a shooting that occurred inside the Lyric Theater in Oxford, Mississippi on April 27, 2018. Desmond Bowen pleaded guilty yesterday to being a felon in possession of ammunition during the incident.  The announcement regarding Bowen’s guilty plea was made by Oxford Police Chief Joey East, Joseph Frank, Supervisory Special Agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Oxford, and U.S. Attorney William C. Lamar.  


Information presented at the change of plea hearing showed that Bowen attended a party at the Lyric Theater in April on Double Decker Weekend when a fight broke out inside the theater. Bowen fired a shot upward, which hit underneath the balcony, ricocheted and hit a patron. Officers collected a .25 auto caliber shell casing from the scene along with an attendee’s video, which depicted Bowen shooting a firearm.


U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills in the Northern Judicial District of Mississippi accepted Bowen’s guilty plea to being a felon in possession of ammunition. Bowen faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. The sentencing is set for February 14, 2019.


Following the plea, U.S. Attorney William C. Lamar remarked, “We are committed to doing everything possible to keep our neighborhoods, towns and cities safe.  We will always seek to hold accountable those individuals who threaten the safety and security of our communities and citizens through illegal and reckless conduct.  The discharge of a weapon inside a crowded public place demonstrates a reckless disregard for the safety of others. In the instant case, the individual discharging the gun was prohibited by law from even possessing a firearm or ammunition.  We will continue to work diligently with our local, state and federal partners to enforce the federal firearms laws and to see that individuals who violate those laws are held accountable.”  


Oxford Police Chief Joey East also praised the cooperative efforts of those agencies involved in the investigation.  “This is a perfect example of the collaborative efforts of state, federal and local law enforcement agencies working together for the common goal of public safety. Without the dedicated work of all of the agencies involved, Desmond Bowen would not have been



brought to justice. It is always a good day when hard work pays off. The safety of citizens is our top priority, because it is not about who does what but about what was accomplished working together as a team,” stated East.


The investigation was the culmination of a joint Federal and State investigation into the shooting with the Oxford Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  The case was prosecuted by AUSA Clyde McGee.



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