Victim in 2015 shooting incident sentenced for unlawful gun possession

Victim in 2015 shooting incident sentenced for unlawful gun possession

August 12th, 2017 by Zack Peterson in Local Regional News

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Marcell Christopher

Marcell Christopher

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

A 20-year-old who was wounded during a 2015 College Hill Courts homicide was sentenced to 22 months in federal prison Friday for the unlawful transport of a firearm.

Marcell Christopher was arrested Feb. 24 after a Chattanooga officer spotted a vehicle involved in a shots-fired call from two nights before turn onto Shallowford Road. Once the vehicle stopped in an apartment complex, Christopher opened the door and took off running, court records allege.

"I immediately saw that he had a silver firearm in his hand," the responding officer, Joel Gunn, wrote in a criminal affidavit.

Gunn said he caught Christopher after he threw his weapon and tried to scale a fence. Gunn arrested the 20-year-old on theft, gun and tampering with evidence charges.

Because Christopher was convicted of domestic assault and isn't allowed to legally own a gun, federal prosecutors took the case.

"I'm not a bad person — I've just seen a lot in life," Christopher told U.S. District Judge Travis McDonough during his sentencing hearing. "And all the gangs, that's not really for me."

McDonough wasn't convinced.

"Seems like it's been for you for a long time," McDonough said. "Odds are, with the choices you're making, that you'll be dead before you can commit more crimes. And I think you know that."

He sentenced Christopher to 22 months in the Federal Bureau of Prisons and two years of supervised release.

Christopher was shot in the chest in January 2015 when Cortez Sims opened fire inside of a College Hill Courts apartment. The rampage killed Talitha Bowman, injured Bianca Horton, and paralyzed Horton's 16-month-old daughter, Zoey.

Lying on the floor with a serious wound, Christopher was recorded by a responding officer's body camera saying Sims was responsible, which proved crucial at Sims' trial in April because Christopher refused to testify. Jurors returned a life sentence for Sims after listening to attorneys for three days.

It's unclear where Christopher will serve his punishment. His family declined to comment afterward.

Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at zpeterson @timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.

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