Portland, OR

Ex-convict back behind bars for possessing a firearm

Liam Ford

A convicted felon is back in prison after a May 2020 incident.| Photo by Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons

PORTLAND, OR — A convicted felon is back behind bars after an investigation linked him to a loaded gun.

Bernard McEllen Welch, 33, of Salem was sentenced today to 120 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervision upon his release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

Welch pleaded guilty to a single charge of illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon on Sept. 16, 2021.

A federal grand jury in Portland returned the one-count indictment on Aug. 5, 2020.

The charge stemmed from an incident on May 21, 2020, according to court documents.

Salem police pulled over a car for a traffic violation. Welch jumped from the rear passenger door and fled. A neighbor told police that he saw a man in his backyard. Police found Welch hiding and arrested him.

Police discovered a discarded pistol nearby with a round in the chamber. The serial number had been removed.

A loaded magazine that fit the pistol was found in a neighboring property. DNA found on the firearm was matched by the Oregon State Forensic Laboratory with a sample taken from Welch.

Welch had prior convictions for assaulting a public safety officer; second-degree robbery with a firearm; third-degree assault; and third-degree robbery.

The Salem Police Department received assistance in the investigation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

Meanwhile, the statistics for the number of shooting incidents in Portland in December, and the total for 2021, have yet to be released.

The tally “is updated approximately 15 days after the end of the month,” according to the Portland Police Bureau’s Shooting Incident Statistics dashboard.

Three people have been shot and killed in metro Portland already in 2022, according to KATU.

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