East St. Louis man gets eight years for illegal possession of weapon

News-DemocratApril 22, 2013 

An East St. Louis man was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Willie Springer, 36, was pulled over July 16 at just after midnight for driving a car that had no license plates. When he stopped his vehicle he jumped out holding a black SKS assault rifle.

Springer fled from the Illinois State Police trooper into the courtyard of an occupied apartment complex where he was cornered. He ignored repeated commands to stop and drop the firearm and police released a dog to help capture him.

A search of the suspect's car found a 50-round American Tactical magazine for the gun and a Halloween mask. He also had an open bottle of alcohol in the car, according to police reports.

"I believe that everyone is fed up with people who illegally possess firearms," United States Attorney Steven Wigginton said. "I am gratified that the court, by its sentence, sends a very clear message: Do not illegally possess weapons on our streets."

Springer was also ordered to pay a $100 special assessment, a $375 fine and to serve a term of 3 years of supervised release following imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal prison system. He has been in custody since his arrest.

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