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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Zachary A. Myers , United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Monday, August 14, 2023

Violent Felon Sentenced to Over 6 Years in Federal Prison for Possessing a Firearm

INDIANAPOLIS- Thomas Burkett, 45, of Indianapolis, Indiana, has been sentenced to 77 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to possessing a firearm as a previously convicted felon.

According to court documents, on August 4, 2021, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) investigators were patrolling near the Marathon gas station on North Shadeland Avenue when they saw Thomas Burkett exit the driver’s seat of a white Pontiac with a pistol protruding from his pant pocket.

Officers ran the Pontiac’s license plate and determined that Burkett was the registered owner of the vehicle and had a suspended driver’s license. Investigators reviewed Burkett’s criminal history and learned that he had been previously convicted of numerous felonies, including strangulation, kidnapping, escape, theft, possession of marijuana, and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. As a result of his criminal convictions Burkett is prohibited from ever legally possessing a firearm.

Officers detained Burkett before he left the gas station and recovered a black 9mm handgun from under the driver’s seat of Burkett’s car.

United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Zachary A. Myers, Daryl S. McCormick, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Columbus Field Division, and Chief Randal Taylor of IMPD, made the announcement.

“Multiple convictions for violent crimes were not enough to convince this offender to stop carrying a deadly weapon,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Zachary A. Myers. “The serious federal prison sentence imposed here should send a message to citizens returning to the community from custody: if you choose to possess a gun you will go right back to prison. Our office will continue to partner with the ATF and IMPD to ensure that the most dangerous armed offenders are taken off our streets.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and IMPD investigated this case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt. Judge Pratt also ordered that Burkett be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 3 years following his release from federal prison.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States 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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