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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida
Roger B. Handberg, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Clearwater Felon Sentenced to More Than 15 Years in Prison for Possessing a Firearm

TAMPA, Fla. – U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday today sentenced Deion R. Brown, 27, (Clearwater) to 15 years and 8 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court also ordered Brown to forfeit the firearm used in the offense. Brown had pleaded guilty on August 30, 2022.

According to court documents, on July 18, 2021, officers from the Clearwater Police Department (CPD) responded to reports of gunfire at the intersection of South Prospect Avenue and Turner Street in Clearwater. Multiple eyewitnesses had reported seeing a young man arguing with two other men before opening fire into the air. The shooter was seen standing near a black SUV, which was being driven by a young woman. After firing five rounds, the shooter chased the other two men on foot, then the shooter and the female driver left the scene in the black SUV.

The next day, a CPD officer located the black SUV in Clearwater and observed the vehicle pull into an apartment complex located about one block from the scene of the shooting. A man and a woman got out of the vehicle and went inside the building. A few minutes later, the man and woman returned to the SUV, and were arrested by CPD. The man was identified as Brown.

During an interview with CPD detectives, the woman who had been with Brown admitted that she had been driving with Brown in the SUV the day prior, when the shooting had occurred. She also permitted CPD to search her SUV, where they discovered Brown’s wallet in the driver’s side door panel, as well as a Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. model EC9s pistol on the driver’s floorboard, partially underneath the seat. The firearm’s magazine did not contain any live rounds.

During an interview with law enforcement, Brown admitted that he had possessed the gun and that he had fired it. Brown also acknowledged that, as a convicted felon, he knew that he could not possess firearms.

This case was investigated by the Clearwater Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Risha Asokan.

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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results.


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