It is quite likely that you heard or read about a recent incident that occurred in a Washington D.C. pizza restaurant called Comet Ping Pong. Earlier this month, a 28-year-old North Carolina man traveled to Comet Ping Pong after reading on the Internet that alleged acts of child abuse were occurring in the eating establishment.
Reportedly, the man took it upon himself to investigate the situation himself. He took with him a loaded shotgun, a .38 caliber revolver, an AR-15 assault rifle and cache of ammunition.Once inside the restaurant, the man is said to have fired the assault rifle multiple times. He also allegedly pointed the gun at an employee. Fortunately, no one was injured, and the man eventually surrendered to the police.
Initially, the man was only issued local gun-related charges, which were subsequently dropped by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. However, the man now faces a federal charge of interstate transportation of a firearm with intent to commit an offense. With this charge comes a statutory maximum 10-year prison sentence.
It is not uncommon for local authorities to drop charges if the federal government wants to take over a case. Given the notoriety of this particular situation, the man may have a hard time having his case judged fairly. But on the positive side, federal judges are mandated to follow federal guidelines for sentencing. This means if you go on trial you will have a pretty good idea of your potential penalties if convicted.
But when dealing with federal charges, it is important to discuss all of your options with a knowledgeable federal criminal defense attorney. Remember, you never have to tell the authorities anything that could be used against you. Nor do you have to sign any sort of confession or make a plea agreement without legal representation present.
Source: CNN, "'Pizzagate' shooting suspect facing new federal charge," Laura Jarrett, Dec. 13, 2016