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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Pennsylvania
Eric G. Olshan, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, March 15, 2024

Four-Time Recidivist Pittsburgh Felon Charged with Possession of Firearm Following Shooting in McKees Rocks

PITTSBURGH — A resident of Pittsburgh has been arrested and charged with violating federal firearms laws, U.S. Attorney Eric G. Olshan announced today.

On March 14, Ernest Terry, 45, was charged by federal criminal complaint following his arrest by investigators from the Allegheny County Police Department (ACPD) on the same date.

According to an affidavit submitted in support of a state court arrest warrant, Terry was identified by ACPD as the alleged shooter in an incident that occurred in a McKees Rocks public housing building on March 12. County detectives subsequently located and arrested Terry near the Hays Manor apartment complex in McKees Rocks after he briefly attempted to flee. During a search incident to arrest, detectives located and seized a loaded .45 caliber Ruger pistol tucked in the waistband of Terry’s pants. The firearm had been reported stolen. In addition to several prior felony drug convictions, Terry also has a prior federal felony conviction for being an armed career criminal, for which he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He is currently serving a term of federal supervised release, and as a convicted felon is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition.

“After serving 15 years in federal prison, Ernest Terry, a recidivist drug and firearm offender, allegedly possessed yet another firearm—a loaded .45 caliber Ruger—which was recovered by county detectives who were investigating a shooting in McKees Rocks,” said U.S. Attorney Olshan. “When our office learns that violent offenders have violated federal law, we will work quickly in partnership with our state and local partners to bring them to justice, and we commend the work of the Allegheny County Police Department in apprehending Terry.”

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of up to 15 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. If it is determined that Terry again should be classified as an armed career criminal, the possible penalties would increase to a term of imprisonment of not less than 15 years and up to life in prison. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history of the defendant.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Douglas C. Maloney and Vincent Joseph Sonson are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The case is being investigated by the Allegheny County Police Department, Allegheny County Housing Police Department, McKees Rocks Police Department, Stowe Township Police Department, Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


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