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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Washington
Vanessa R. Waldref , United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Cusick Man Who Illegally Possessed Firearms and Threatened to Kill a Family Sentenced to Prison

Spokane, Washington - U.S. Senior District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson sentenced Aaron Joseph Cunningham, age 47, of Cusick, Washington, to 41 months in federal prison on one count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition. Allen was convicted on October 19, 2023, following a jury trial. Senior Judge Peterson also sentenced to Cunningham to 3 years of federal supervision after he is released from prison.

According to court documents and information disclosed at trial and sentencing, on October 24, 2021, Cunningham was driving his deceased brother’s car, which he had been using as his own. Law enforcement stopped Cunningham on a Department of Corrections warrant and arrested him. The car was towed, impounded, and ultimately set for auction.

On November 30, tow employees inventoried the car for auction. Employees located two black Glock firearms in glovebox. Both firearms were loaded and chambered.

During the investigation of the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition by Cunningham, law enforcement learned that Cunningham had made repeated threats to a family living on his deceased brother’s property. In the early morning hours of October 18, Cunningham came onto the property armed with two Glock-style firearms and accused the family of being squatters. Before leaving the property, Cunningham yelled, “I will kill you all.”

“Mr. Cunningham illegally possessed loaded firearms and used them in an attempt to frighten and threaten a family on their own property. This type of crime is not just a threat to people’s safety, it is a threat to their freedom to go about their daily lives,” stated United States Attorney Vanessa Waldref. “By working with our law enforcement partners to remove illegal firearms, we can have a significant impact in making our homes and communities safer.”

“Mr. Cunningham was prohibited from possessing firearms yet used them as a means to threaten his family,” said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Blais. “This sentence is well deserved and should send a message to anyone who would think to use firearms in this manner.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. 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.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Herzog.

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