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Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Lawrence Keefe
, United States Attorney

Okaloosa Armed Career Criminal Sentenced to Twenty Years in Prison for Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Dennis A. Toomer, 37, of Valparaiso, Florida, was sentenced to 240 months in federal prison after having previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The sentence was announced today by Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

“We will vigorously prosecute those whose actions recklessly endanger the public,” U.S. Attorney Keefe said. “This convicted felon chose to arm himself with a firearm and now will pay the heavy consequences for his actions.”

In the early morning hours of May 8, 2019, Toomer was arrested by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office after battering his pregnant girlfriend and threatening her and her two juvenile brothers with a loaded handgun. Toomer was prohibited from having a firearm because he had been previously convicted of 15 felony offenses, including five battery convictions, four drug-related convictions, and a conviction for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Because Toomer had at least three prior convictions for a violent felony or a serious drug offense, he was subject to enhanced penalties under the Armed Career Criminal Act.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia Forbes prosecuted the case after a joint investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

“Reducing violent crime and protecting the public in the communities that we serve is a priority for ATF,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Daryl McCrary. “We will continue to work vigorously with our law enforcement partners to make sure those individuals who commit violent firearms crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,

Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. The United States Attorney’s Office prosecuted this case with support from Project Guardian partners, the Pensacola Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. For more information about Project Guardian, please visit:

https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndfl/pr/attorney-general-announces-launch-p....

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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Tampa Field Division