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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Iowa
Richard D. Westphal, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, February 8, 2024

C-Block Member Sentenced to 384 Months in Federal Prison

DES MOINES, Iowa — A Des Moines man was sentenced today to 384 months in federal prison after a jury convicted him of charges related to firearms straw purchasing and illegally possessing firearms and a machinegun.

According to public court documents and evidence presented at trial and sentencing, believing that a group of people contained a rival gang member, Dontavius Rashawn Sharkey, 27 and a member of the C-Block gang, open-fired with two firearms into a crowd of people attending a baby shower at a Des Moines apartment complex. Three teens were struck by Sharkey’s bullets, causing serious injuries to each.  All three survived. As noted in the government’s sentencing memorandum, “[h]is motive, that a rival gang member happened to be in that crowd, was unconscionable.”

Following the shooting, Sharkey, a convicted felon, recruited an individual to illegally purchase him multiple firearms from various gun stores in the Des Moines area. One of those firearms was recovered by law enforcement on November 2, 2022, during a search warrant at Sharkey’s Des Moines residence. During that search warrant, Sharkey ran from police with this loaded firearm, which he had converted to a machinegun with an auto-switch.  Sharkey was captured by an ATF K-9.

Twenty-four months of his sentence resulted from the revocation of his federal supervised release. Sharkey was serving a term of federal supervised release at the time he committed these crimes. He had been released from federal prison on February 17, 2022, after serving a 60-month sentence for felon in possession of a firearm.

After completing his term of imprisonment, Sharkey will be required to serve three years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

“The Des Moines Police have enjoyed a long-standing working relationship with the ATF, FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office,” stated Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert. “This partnership continues to pay dividends in our community, whereas violent criminals are held accountable for their actions. The collective efforts in this particular case are certainly impressive, and we vow to continue pooling our resources in a relentless pursuit of those individuals who compromise the safety our of citizens through gun violence.”

“The ATF has no greater mission than keeping firearms out of the hands of violent criminals. This case not only demonstrates the lengths to which criminals will go to acquire firearms, but more importantly, ATF’s expertise and commitment to investigating such violations of federal law,” said Bernard Hansen, Special Agent in Charge, Kansas City Field Division, ATF. “With our law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s Office, we will continue to work tirelessly to bring those who disregard the safety of our communities to justice.”

United States Attorney Richard D. Westphal of the Southern District of Iowa made the announcement. Assistant United States Attorneys Kristin M. Herrera and Adam J. Kerndt prosecuted the case This case was investigated by the Des Moines Police Department – Intelligence Division; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.  Des Moines Police Detective/ATF Task Force Officer Brian Minnehan was the lead agent in the investigation.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. PSN, an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime, is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.


Public Information Officer 


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