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Pawtucket man sentenced to serve 4 years in state prison for possessing illegal firearm

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Pawtucket man was sentenced yesterday in Kent County Superior Court to serve four years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) after pleading to possessing an illegal firearm while on probation from a previous conviction.

John Laboy (age 23) pleaded nolo contendere to one count of possession of a firearm by a person previously convicted of a crime of violence. Under Rhode Island law, individuals convicted of certain violent crimes are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms.

At a hearing on February 22, 2021, before Superior Court Magistrate John F. McBurney III, the Court sentenced Laboy to 10 years at the ACI, with four years to serve and the balance of the sentence suspended with probation.

"Illegal firearms are a tremendous risk to the safety of all Rhode Islanders because of the consistent connection they have to so many instances of violent crime," said Attorney General Neronha. "Persons like the defendant here, with a history of criminal misconduct and armed with a gun during a traffic stop, pose a tremendous risk to police officers and to the broader community. The defendant compounded the risk he posed to others by fleeing and discarding his loaded gun where anyone could have found it, including a child. I am grateful to the Warwick Police Department for their excellent work in this case."

Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that during the afternoon of December 26, 2020, Laboy was arrested by the Warwick Police Department following a vehicle stop and brief foot chase, during which Laboy discarded a loaded handgun.

On that day, Warwick Police officers conducted a routine vehicle stop on Airport Road of a Nissan Altima, in which Laboy was the passenger. After pulling over, Laboy jumped out of the front passenger seat and ran away toward the intersection of Airport Road and Granger Court.

While crossing Granger Court, Officers observed Laboy discard a silver Smith and Wesson SD40 pistol onto the street. Officers secured the handgun, which was loaded with a full magazine and a bullet in the chamber.

Officers continued their pursuit of Laboy and finally apprehended him in the front yard of a home on Granger Court.

Laboy is known to law enforcement as a member of the Pawtucket-based Bucket East gang. He was previously convicted of conspiracy charges stemming from his role in instigating a confrontation outside of Providence Superior Court in 2017, which led to a daylight shooting on Crawford Bridge in downtown Providence.

The investigation and prosecution of this case was handled by Officers Michael Bailey and Kyle Fitzsimmons of the Warwick Police Department and Special Assistant Attorney General David Bonzagni of the Office of Attorney General.

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