A convicted felon who brought a loaded assault rifle to an Atlanta recreation center was sentenced Monday to five years in federal prison, officials said.
According to prosecutors, Kenneth Copeland went to the Dunbar Recreational Center Gymnasium on April 28, 2015, with the rifle in a shopping bag.
“Despite the presence of approximately 20 members of the public, including children, Copeland left the assault rifle on the bleachers and went to play basketball,” the office of U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said Tuesday in a statement.
A concerned citizen called 911 to report the rifle was inside the gym in the 400 block of Windsor Street. Atlanta police officers arrived, retrieved the weapon and detained Copeland, who had been convicted of multiple felonies prior to the incident, according to officials.
Copeland, 27, of Atlanta, pleaded guilty July 25 to one count of a felon in possession of a firearm, prosecutors said.
“The illegal possession of a firearm is a crime in itself,” said Arthur Peralta with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “However, taking a firearm into a place where children are present and leaving it in plain view, recklessly endangering everyone, is shocking. In this case, a concerned citizen saved the day and the defendant is no longer in a position to endanger anyone else.”
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