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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Indiana
Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, December 8, 2022

Previously Convicted Felon Sentenced to 5 Years in Federal Prison for Illegal Gun Possession

INDIANAPOLIS – John Ellis-Strayhorn, Jr., 32, of Indianapolis, was sentenced to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to court documents, on June 3, 2020, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) officers observed Ellis-Strayhorn driving a car that had previously been reported as stolen. When officers approached the stolen car, Ellis-Strayhorn sped away in the vehicle. A pursuit ensued, reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hour on city streets. As he fled, Ellis-Strayhorn, Jr. threw a gun out the window of the car. Police recovered the firearm from the road where Ellis-Strayhorn, Jr. had thrown it.

As the pursuit continued, police attempted to perform a pursuit-intervention technique (PIT) maneuver on Ellis-Strayhorn’s vehicle. The PIT maneuver caused Ellis-Strayhorn’s vehicle to spin, but he continued driving. The chase only ended after Ellis-Strayhorn’s vehicle collided with another car that was stopped at a red light. Ellis-Strayhorn was then arrested.

At the time of his arrest, Ellis-Strayhorn had three prior felony convictions which prohibited him from possessing firearms, including Battery on a Person Less than 14 Years Old, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon, and Dealing in Cocaine or Narcotic Drug.

Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, and Daryl S. McCormick, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Columbus Field Division, made the announcement.

ATF investigated the case. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department provided valuable assistance. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge James R. Sweeney II. As part of the sentence, Judge Sweeney ordered that Ellis-Strayhorn be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for three years following his release from federal prison.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelsey L. Massa who prosecuted this 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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