CHARLESTON, SC (Jan. 5, 2022) — U.S. Attorney Corey F. Ellis announced Jan. 5, 2022, that Quentin John Fishburne, a/k/a “Q”, 40, of Walterboro, was sentenced to more than 23 years in federal prison after a jury convicted him on numerous firearms charges, including two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of conspiracy to make false statements in connection with the purchase of a firearm.
Assistant United States Attorney Chris Schoen and Special Assistant United States Attorney Carra Henderson prosecuted the case. Henderson is a member of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Career Criminal Unit and is embedded with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute offenders in federal court.
Evidence presented to the jury showed that in March of 2018, Officers with the Walterboro Police Department discovered a loaded .40 caliber pistol under Fishburne’s seat at a traffic safety checkpoint. At the time, Fishburne was on federal supervision following a 2017 conviction for aiding and abetting attempted murder in aid of racketeering. This conviction arose from a November 6, 2015, shooting in Colleton County, in which members and associates of a violent Walterboro gang disputed the outcome of an illegal car race and then attempted to rob a man holding money wagered on the race. Two men were shot, but authorities were not able to identify all of the shooters. Fishburne admitted to being an associate of the gang and driving another gang member from the scene of the shooting and received a time-served sentence.
Shortly after Fishburne was arrested with the .40 caliber pistol, his girlfriend, who had purchased the pistol from a Walterboro gun store, claimed that she had inadvertently left the gun in the vehicle Fishburne was driving. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) became suspicious, however, when they discovered that Fishburne had previously been arrested with another gun purchased by the same woman.
Additionally, ballistic analysis showed that the gun discovered under Fishburne’s seat matched three .40 caliber shell casings recovered from the scene of the November 6, 2015, shooting involving the gang, the same shooting that led to Fishburne’s 2017 conviction.
Fishburne was also convicted of possessing another firearm purchased by the same girlfriend, which was recovered by deputies of the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office following a high-speed chase involving Fishburne in 2014. In this incident, Fishburne fled from deputies and reached speeds of over 90 miles-an-hour on country roads while he and his passenger brandished handguns at the pursuing officer.
Fishburne previously spent ten years in a Georgia prison after killing his 18-year-old cousin over a dice game when he was 14 years old.
United States District Judge David Norton sentenced Fishburne to 285 months in federal prison, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system. Fishburne’s trial was the last federal jury trial in Charleston before the COVID pandemic halted federal jury trials in the low country until the fall of 2021.
Judge Norton observed that Fishburne’s history of violence and recidivism was “consistent with statistics recently published by the U.S. Sentencing Commission” showing “that firearms offenders recidivated at a higher rate than all other offenders.” The Court concluded that a “substantial sentence” was “warranted to protect the public” from Fishburne and to “deter others” who “may follow his unfortunate path.”
The case was investigated by ATF, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the Walterboro Police Department, and the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
This case was also made possible by investigative leads generated from ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles. For more information on NIBIN, visit https://www.atf.gov/firearms/national-integrated-ballistic-information-network-nibin