Montgomery-DOJ partnership nets conviction in 2016 shootout

Christopher Gilcrest (Source: MCSO)
Christopher Gilcrest (Source: MCSO)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A federal jury has delivered its firearms conviction in a Montgomery gas station shootout case. Christopher Gilcrest, 34, faces up to 10 years in prison for triggering a shootout at a midtown Montgomery service station on Oct. 23.

Court documents state Gilcrest had words with another individual at the Value Gas Food Store on Highland Avenue, pulled a gun, and engaged in a shootout. The shots struck three people.

"We are lucky more were not shot," said Acting U.S. Attorney Clark Morris. "There were people in between those shots being fired that somehow didn't get shot."

Morris said Gilcrest disposed of the weapon, but the U.S. Attorney's Office was still able to charge him with felon in possession of ammunition, from the spent shell casings at the crime scene.

Morris says this case is a strong example of the partnership between the Montgomery Police Department and the Department of Justice working to get violent criminals and guns off the streets. Two Montgomery police officers are now on the Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco, or ATF, Task Force to help identify cases like Gilcrest's that would deliver a higher sentence upon conviction in federal court.

"This couldn't have been done without the Montgomery Police Department and their emphasis on taking shooters off the streets," Morris said. "One of the things we have discovered with this partnership is when people were previously charged, they would be prosecuted for possessing a firearm without a permit, and it's not a felony."

Firearms cases account for more than half of the active cases at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Alabama's Middle District. Morris believes convictions like this will decrease in gun violence in Montgomery.

"These people that are carrying guns and shooting at public places they are hurting citizens, not just people who are criminals," said Morris. "One of the people shot was a security guard, working for the gas station."

Gilcrest had prior convictions in state and federal court. No sentencing date has been set.

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