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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Eastern District of Missouri>

For Immediate Release

January 6, 2012

Richard Callahan, United States Attorney

Cape Girardeau Man Sentenced to 27 Months for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that MICHAEL G. O’NEAL was sentenced to 27 months on one felony count of being a previously convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He appeared before United States District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr. On May 15, 2011, officers responded at 12:14 a.m. to a call of shots fired at 134 S. Lorimier in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Officers encountered O’Neal who was yelling from his second floor apartment at 136 S. Lorimier. Unable to determine where the shots came from, the officers returned to patrol.

At 12:35 a.m., officers heard shots again and responded to the area. While speaking with witnesses and searching the area, one of the officers heard what sounded like the racking of a pump action shotgun and then heard a shotgun blast coming from O’Neal’s apartment. O’Neal walked out of the front door of his residence and was placed in handcuffs. Officers evacuated nearby apartments and then conducted a protective sweep of O'Neal's apartment. The officers observed a Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun on the sofa and spent shell casings around the apartment. They also saw a bandolier containing numerous shotgun shells. Officers checked the area behind the residence and found that a storage building had been struck by shotgun pellets.

Officers secured the scene and obtained a search warrant. The search warrant resulted in the recovery of a Mossberg 12 gauge pump action shotgun and numerous 12 gauge shotgun shells.

O’Neal was later interviewed at the Cape Girardeau County Jail and admitted he was a previously convicted felon; that he shot the shotgun out the window of his apartment; and that he had obtained the shotgun two to three months ago.

The case was investigated by the Cape Girardeau Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorney Larry H. Ferrell handled the prosecution for the Government.