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Washington man says former police chief coerced him to commit drive-by shooting

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Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, 12:27 p.m.
 

A Washington man apologized for selling illegal firearms and opening fire on a parked car, saying his crimes were driven by circumstances, a former police chief and federal investigators.

Timothy D. Johnson, 41, said the FBI took advantage of his financial problems to talk him into making the sales.

U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon said that if anything, the government's filings in his case “significantly understates” Johnson's criminal activity and that his excuses for committing the crimes are “incredible and disingenuous.”

She sentenced Johnson to five years in prison and two years of probation.

Johnson pleaded guilty in October to 11 firearm charges, including selling a firearm to a convicted felon and 10 counts of possessing and selling silencers and a machine gun.

Johnson said former East Washington police Chief Donald Abraham Solomon, 56, coerced him into the drive-by shooting to intimidate Solomon's former girlfriend. At the time, Johnson was living with Solomon's ex-wife in their house.

FBI Special Agent James Shearer testified that Solomon and Johnson were friends and that Johnson was recruiting a team to commit a home invasion on the house where Solomon's former girlfriend resided. Solomon, as police chief, offered to shield the team while they robbed the house and intimidated the occupants, Shearer said.

Solomon pleaded guilty in January to providing protection and Tasers to undercover agents he thought were drug runners. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 3.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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