DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Friday, December 15, 2017
Peter E. Deegan, Jr.
, United States Attorney
Contact: Tony Morfitt

Waterloo Man Sentenced to a Decade in Federal Prison for Unlawfully Possessing Gun

A man who fired shots at a campus church was sentenced today to the statutory maximum of 10 years in federal prison.

Darius Devon Nickelous, age 23, from Waterloo, Iowa, received the prison term after a June 1, 2017, jury verdict finding him guilty of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

Evidence at trial showed that Nickelous fired a revolver multiple times at the Wesley Foundation Church on January 17, 2017, during a party hosted by a fraternity.  The Wesley Foundation Church is located on the University of Northern Iowa’s campus in Cedar Falls.  Nickelous fled the scene, but was quickly located by the Cedar Falls Police Department.  Nickelous attempted to hide the revolver by a vehicle parked on the street.  Officers recovered the gun, which had five spent casings inside, and detained Nickelous.  Nickelous, who was extremely intoxicated, had an injury to his arm that was consistent with being grazed by a gunshot.  Nickelous was unable to tell officers how he received the injury.  No one else was injured.  Nickelous was prohibited from possessing the gun because he was an unlawful drug user, had prior felony convictions and had prior misdemeanor domestic abuse convictions.

Nickelous was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge Linda R. Reade.  Nickelous was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment.  A special assessment of $100 was imposed.  He must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

This case is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a cooperative local, state and federal program aimed at the enhanced prosecution of gun crimes.

Nickelous is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Emily K. Nydle and Ravi T. Narayan and investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Cedar Falls Police Department, the Waterloo Police Department, and the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 17-CR-02016

Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.

Kansas City Field Division