Antioch man sentenced to federal prison in gun case resulting from Richmond police chase

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OAKLAND — A 24-year-old man was sentenced to three years and five months in federal prison in connection with a June 2020 police chase in Richmond where he was found to be in possession of a loaded pistol.

Vandrick Jones, who is listed as a resident of Antioch, was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White. After the prison sentence, he will be placed on supervised release for three years.

Jones was arrested after he crashed his car during a police chase with Richmond officers on June 26, 2020. A pistol with a modification that allowed it to fire fully automatic was found in the car, loaded with 19 bullets. Jones pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm the day he was sentenced.

In court records, Jones’ attorney wrote that he fled from police “impulsively” because he was driving under the influence without a valid license, and knew he’d be arrested immediately upon pulling over. Earlier in the year, Jones had asked a probation officer for permission to move to Fresno in order to get away from negative influences in the Bay Area, but the request was denied, the attorney wrote.

“His impulsive decision to drive away rather than stop was based upon his knowledge that he would go to jail once it was determined that he was driving under the influence without a valid license while on parole,” assistant federal public defender Joyce Leavitt wrote in court records. “Although he should also have been concerned about the firearm in the car, Mr. Jones had not thought that far ahead about the consequences when he decided not to stop.”

Leavitt also highlighted some of the struggles throughout Jones life, a few of which were the result of gun violence: two of his close friends were shot and killed, Jones himself has been shot twice, and Jones’ father was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison for an attempted murder, when Jones was four years old.

Prosecutors asked for a 51-month sentence, writing that Jones had proven himself to be a danger to the public.

“The public needs to be protected from persons who possess dangerous firearms and engage in constant criminality,” assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Green wrote in court records. “Defendant’s criminality has progressed in a troubling direction, and the public needs to be protected from persons who possess firearms, particularly a firearm that has been enhanced with a device designed to enable it to function as a machine gun.”

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