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Nashville gang member sentenced to 12 years in federal prison

Staff Reports • Jun 14, 2018 at 6:11 PM

NASHVILLE – U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger sentenced Antonio L. Bender, 20, of Nashville, to 12 years in prison Thursday on federal firearms and obstruction of justice charges.

A federal grand jury indicted Bender on May 10, 2017 on charges of being an unlawful drug user in possession of two firearms; possession of a stolen firearm; and obstruction of justice, by having photographs deleted from his Facebook, which showed him holding a pistol in each hand, in an attempt to impede a federal investigation. Bender pleaded guilty to the charges in December.

According to documents filed with the court, Bender is a Rollin’ 60s Crips gang member and was released from juvenile custody in October 2016. On March 27, 2017, Metro-Nashville police officers responded to a report of shots fired in the area of the J.C. Napier and Tony Sudekum public housing developments.

As they responded, two officers heard more gunfire and got out of their patrol car to investigate. While on foot, they heard four to five more shots before they saw Bender, who was armed with two pistols equipped with a laser and a flashlight. Bender raised the pistols toward the officers and shot once, as the laser crossed the chest of one of the officers. The officer was not hit, and Bender then fled on foot. The officers did not shoot back, because there were bystanders behind Bender, and they could not shoot without endangering them.

The officers chased Bender, who surrendered a short distance away, after he discarded the two pistols, a Glock .40-caliber semi-automatic and a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber semi-automatic, which were previously reported stolen.

The subsequent investigation determined Bender is an unlawful drug user and took both pistols from an unknown man selling guns a few weeks earlier. He was involved in a shooting earlier in the day, in which he shot a person who old one of his associates some fake cocaine. Multiple other shots hit and heavily damaged a nearby occupied car.

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