Providence man prohibited from possessing firearms sentenced to serve 45 months in state prison for possessing assault-style rifle with illegally shortened barrel

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that a Providence man has been sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to serve 45 months at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) for possessing an assault-style rifle with an illegally shortened barrel.


On March 11, 2024, at a hearing before Superior Court Magistrate John F. McBurney III, the defendant, Andrew Brown (age 25) pleaded nolo contendere to one count of possession of a sawed-off rifle and one count of possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a crime of violence. On March 22, 2024, the Court sentenced the defendant to 10 years, with 45 months to serve to serve at the ACI, and a 75-month suspended sentence, and 10 years of probation.


“Our communities continue to be inundated with firearms, which is obviously a major threat to public safety,” said Attorney General Neronha. “Each sentence imposed for a gun crime serves as a deterrent, and each illegal firearm seized by law enforcement is a firearm that can no longer harm our friends and neighbors. I am grateful to the Providence Police Department for their efforts in this case and so many others.”


Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on October 11, 2023, the defendant possessed an assault-style rifle with an illegally shortened barrel as a person previously convicted of a crime of violence.


That afternoon at approximately 12:13 p.m., Providence Police observed a white Acura MDX fail to stop at a stop sign and subsequently attempted to conduct a traffic stop at the intersection of Harrison Street and Lester Street in Providence. When the officers activated their emergency lights, the operator of the vehicle (the defendant) sped up in an attempt to flee. At that time, the officers broadcasted the vehicle’s information and description to nearby officers, and responding officers apprehended him on Plainfield Street where he had exited his vehicle and attempted to flee on foot.


While in pursuit of the defendant, a witness approached one of the officers and said that they saw the defendant exit his vehicle, toss a brown backpack over a fence, re-enter his vehicle, and move it a short distance before parking it and fleeing on foot.


After the arrest, officers canvassed the area and recovered the backpack, which contained a Mossberg International 715T .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle. Upon further inspection, investigators determined that the rifle’s barrel was cut down to nine inches and the shoulder stock had been removed.


“Thanks to the men and women of the Providence Police Department and the Attorney General’s Office, another illegal gun is off the streets,” said Providence Police Colonel Oscar Perez. “When firearms are in the hands of violent criminals, tragedies can occur. We must continue to be vigilant and remain committed to keeping our communities safe.”


Special Assistant Attorney General Daniel Hopkins of the Office of the Attorney General and Detective Ricardo Silva of the Providence Police led the investigation and prosecution of the case.