A 23-year-old Dorchester man who allegedly told police “they’re shooting over there” while attempting to conceal a gun in his waistband was convicted Thursday of being a felon in possession of a firearm, records show.
The guilty verdict came down in the case against Joquentz Constant in US District Court in Boston after jurors deliberated for roughly two and a half hours, according to legal filings. Constant’s federal public defender didn’t return an e-mail seeking comment Friday.
Assistant US Attorney Mackenzie A. Queenin had laid out the allegations against Constant in an October trial brief. According to Queenin, Constant was arrested on Seaver Street in Dorchester around 3:41 a.m. on Aug. 25, 2018.
Officers arrived after the Boston Police Department’s ShotSpotter system alerted them to shots fired and they spotted Constant walking quickly from Seaver Street onto Columbia Road while holding his waist and “manipulating” his waistband, Queenin wrote.
Constant tried in vain to escape scrutiny when he saw a police cruiser, according to the filing.
“The defendant looked in the direction of the cruiser, and then motioned toward Seaver Street while attempting to shield the side of his body from view,” Queenin wrote. “Without prompting, as the cruiser slowed down, he yelled to the officers, ‘Hey, they’re shooting over there.’ ”
When an officer tried to speak with Constant, he was reticent.
“The defendant shook his head while stating, ‘No, no, not me,’ as he ... [positioned] his body further away from the officers,” Queenin wrote. “The defendant then began running away... ."
Eventually, according to the filing, Constant tossed the gun.
“Officer Ramos, who was closest to the defendant, observed him pull a firearm from his waistband and throw it,” Queenin wrote. "Officer Ramos distinctly heard a metallic thud and observed the firearm as it struck an electrical box before it landed on the sidewalk in front of 72 Columbia Road. The defendant was advised of his Miranda rights and then asked for his license to carry a firearm. The defendant stated, ‘I don’t have a license.’ ”
The gun Constant tossed was a loaded revolver, Queenin wrote.
Constant was barred from possessing a gun, owing to his prior rap sheet. He pleaded guilty in 2014 in Dorchester Municipal Court to a felony breaking-and-entering charge and was sentenced to nine months, records show.
His public defender in the gun case, Charles P. McGinty, filed a motion for acquittal on Friday.
McGinty wrote that “the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction due to insufficient proof that defendant possessed the firearm.”
Judge Douglas P. Woodlock hadn’t ruled on the written motion as of Friday afternoon.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 26.