Man caught with a hammer and illegal weapon during the May 2020 riots will be sentenced to one year in prison

A federal judge Tuesday sentenced a man to a year in prison who was caught with a hammer and a loaded gun he was legally prohibited from possessing during the downtown riots in May 2020.

Although prosecutors said they had no evidence that Brandon Pegues caused harm in the city, they said his crime was also a symbol of the Chicago gun problem.

And in passing her verdict, U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall said that people who opted for looting and rioting in late May 2020 discredited the people who peacefully protested the Minneapolis assassination of George Floyd.

That’s because “uninformed people would bunch them up,” Kendall said.

Before the judge sentenced him, Pegues said to her: “I take full responsibility for my actions.” He said he started a landscaping company and said, “I want you to consider everything I am and not just the person who made a terrible decision.”

But the judge also pointed to domestic violence allegations that surfaced against Pegues earlier this year, telling him, “The aggressive and violent abuse of women is never tolerated in our society.”

Pegues, who will turn 30 on Wednesday, pleaded guilty to illegal gun possession in March. Chicago police said they spotted him shortly after 12:30 p.m. on May 31, 2020 on the 800 block of South Financial Place, where they arrived “in response to mass gatherings and several reported ongoing crimes, including criminal damage to property,” according to recordings.

Officials said they saw four men walking south on the South Financial and some were wearing hammers. When officers saw Pegues, they said he looked at her, adjusted his waistband and fled. The police said they ran after him and Pegues eventually tripped and fell.

Police said they saw a gun fall to the ground and they said they saw Pegues slide a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol under a nearby vehicle. Prosecutors said Pegues also had a gavel and more than $ 2,200 in cash when he was arrested.

The federal authorities brought charges against Pegues on June 1, 2020. Pegues had previously been convicted of home burglary, a crime, in January 2010, court records show.

Sentencing Pegues, one of the first people to face federal criminal charges following the May 2020 riot, comes as related cases continue to run through the court system.

Records show that this week authorities arrested Jose Valdovinos, who was charged in June with setting fire to a Walgreens, on the 4000 block of West 59th Street on June 1, 2020.

And earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman gave Jacob Fagundo three years probation, who admitted setting fire to a Chicago police SUV during the downtown riot in May 2020.

Also convicted last March was D. Angelo D. Chester, who was caught on the South Side on June 3, 2020 with a gun that he was legally prohibited from possessing. Chester had passed the curfew imposed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot in the riots, authorities said.

US District Judge John Blakey sentenced Chester to more than three years in prison with a previous conviction that increases the risk that Chester will commit another crime.

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