A Salem man with multiple prior felony convictions was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison Thursday for being found with a firearm after running away from police during a traffic stop.
Bernard McEllen Welch, 33, pleaded guilty last September to one count of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon following an indictment by a federal grand jury. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon.
At the time of his arrest, Welch was on post-prison supervision for prior state felony convictions, including assaulting a public safety officer, second-degree robbery with a firearm, third-degree assault and robbery, according to attorney officials.
On May 21, 2020, a Salem police officer pulled a car over for a traffic violation when Welch jumped from the vehicle’s rear passenger door and ran away.
A nearby resident told police a man had jumped into his backyard. Officers searched the area and found Welch hiding under a bush, officials said.
Officers also found a pistol with an unrecognizable serial number and a chambered round.
Next door, they found a loaded magazine that matched with the pistol, officials said.
Investigators at the Oregon State Forensic Laboratory later matched DNA found on the firearm with a sample collected from Welch.
The case was investigated by the Salem Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
Virginia Barreda is the breaking news and public safety reporter for the Statesman Journal. She can be reached at 503-399-6657 or at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @vbarreda2.
This article originally appeared on Salem Statesman Journal: Oregon man gets 10 years for illegally possessing firearm