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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Utah
Trina A. Higgins, United States Attorney
Contact: Felicia Martinez,
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Felon Sentenced to 110 Months for Illegally Possessing an Officer’s Firearm While Attempting To Avoid Arrest

SALT LAKE CITY – Brandon Keith Thompson, 43, of Salt Lake County, Utah, was sentenced today to over nine years imprisonment followed by three years supervised release after a federal jury found him guilty of being a previously convicted felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. 

According to court documents and the evidence presented at trial in January 2023, law enforcement responded to a store in Sandy, Utah, on July 8, 2021, for a report of a theft in progress. When the officers arrived, employees identified Thompson as the suspected shoplifter. Thompson fled the store. Two officers with the Sandy Police Department chased Thompson in the parking lot and stopped him. Thompson grabbed an officer’s firearm, which was holstered, and pulled on it with such force that the firearm began to move up out of the holster. A bystander observed the struggle and rushed forward to help the officers keep Thompson from gaining control of the firearm and potentially using it against the officers. Thompson placed his finger on the trigger and fired the weapon, which was still partially holstered. The bullet came within inches of striking the bystander and officers. Thompson maintained his grip on the firearm and continued to pull on it, as officers and the bystander attempted to gain control of the firearm and Thompson. After a violent struggle, the officers and bystander secured the firearm and placed Thompson into custody. Thompson had previously been convicted of a felony. This is Thompson’s third federal conviction for the unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

“Thompson’s behavior threatened the lives of police officers and bystanders in a busy parking lot,” said U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins of the District of Utah. “This case highlights the valuable and ongoing relationship between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners as we continue to seek justice for federal offenders whose actions put law enforcement and the community in danger.” 

“We are extremely grateful for the countless hours of hard work of everyone involved in this case,” said a spokesperson with the Sandy Police Department Administration. “We are especially thankful for Assistant United States Attorneys Angela Clifford and Jennifer Muyskens for their diligence in the pursuit of justice for this deliberate act of indifference against a law enforcement officer.”  

“Every day, law enforcement officers are confronted with life and death situations in order to protect their communities,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Brent Beavers. “We are fortunate and grateful this case was not deadly for the officer or other innocent bystanders.”

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Angela J. Clifford and Jennifer K. Muyskens of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah prosecuted the case.

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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