An Indianapolis man considered by prosecutors to be an “armed career criminal” was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for unlawful possession of a firearm.
John Foster, 48, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. He has a history of convictions in Marion County, which included robbery, burglary and dealing cocaine, according to court documents.
Due to his previous violent felony convictions, Foster was legally barred from having a firearm. According to a federal law called the Armed Career Criminal Act, there is “a mandatory minimum 15-year sentence to anyone possessing a firearm after three prior convictions for serious drug offenses or violent felonies,” according to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office.
“Keeping our communities safe from violent criminals like Mr. Foster remains a top priority at the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” U.S. attorney Josh Minkler said in a press release. “The narrative is simple; if you illegally possess a firearm and terrorize Hoosier neighborhoods, you will be arrested, held without bond, convicted and sent to federal prison.”
The charge stemmed from an October 2015 incident involving a police chase and a shooting.
Foster was serving five years in a Kentucky prison for a prior charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. On Sept. 9, 2015, Foster escaped from a work release program in at the Oldham County Recycling Department in Oldham, Kentucky, according to court documents. He stole a gray Dodge Durango and drove north to Indianapolis.
Around 8 a.m. on Oct. 5, 2015, an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer started trailing the Durango while on patrol in Indianapolis. The Durango had been reported stolen, so the officer requested backup.
After noticing he was being followed, Foster drove the Durango through the front yard of a business and sped off on South Meridian Street. After a brief chase, he pulled into the parking lot of Perry Meridian Middle School, according to court documents. After stopping by an access road near the football field, Foster got out of the car and brandished a handgun.
At the time, school was in session, but there were no students near Foster. The school was placed on lockdown.
Fearing for his life, the officer fired two shots toward Foster. After realizing he was cornered, Foster shot himself in the neck, according to a report from the Indianapolis Star at the time. He was removed from the scene and taken to receive emergency medical care.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated this case.
“The defendant’s disregard for the safety of our community by unlawfully possessing a firearm, posed a threat and underlines the necessity of his spending significant time removed from society,” said Trevor Velinor, special agent in charge of ATF’s Columbus field division, said in a press release.
Foster must serve three years of supervised release following his sentence, according to assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey D. Preston, who prosecuted this case for the government.