2 Minnesota men sentenced for possessing firearms as felons

The Department of Justice says two Minnesota men have been sentenced to prison time for illegally possessing a firearm.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, 28-year-old Jarvae Somerville of White Bear Lake and 26-year-old Ronald Finley Jr. of Minneapolis were sentenced Thursday.

Court officials say Somerville was sentenced to eight years in prison, as well as three years of supervised release. Meanwhile, they say Finley will serve six-and-a-half years in prison, as well as three years of supervised release.

Both men were convicted in late August for one count of illegally possessing a firearm after a three-day jury trial. The U.S. Attorney’s office says Somerville has previous felony convictions in Hennepin County, and Finley has a previous felony conviction in Cook County, Illinois. Due to federal law, those previous convictions prohibit them from possessing firearms or ammunition at any time.

Documents state officers with the Minneapolis Police Department investigated a shooting and followed the two men to a restaurant located on Lake Street. They say Somerville was inside the restaurant, and Finley was outside in a vehicle the two men were traveling in.

When officers approached Finley to arrest him, officials say Finley ran from the vehicle but was eventually caught and arrested. Officers say they found a 9mm semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine.

Meanwhile, police say when they entered the restaurant and tried arresting Somerville, he ran inside a private bathroom in the back of the restaurant, and the officers followed. That’s when they say Somerville reached into his waistband, and an officer grabbed Somerville’s hands. Following a struggle between the officers and Somerville, he was arrested.

Police say they found a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine on the floor of the bathroom.

A search of Somerville’s home was eventually conducted, and police say they found a box of .45 caliber ammunition—which matched the model of the gun found in the bathroom—as well as a gun cleaning kit.

Acting U.S. Attorney Charles Kovats issued this statement in a news release regarding the sentencings Friday morning:

"The staggering spike in gun violence throughout the Twin Cities must end. The U.S. Attorney’s Office remains steadfast in our commitment to hold accountable individuals who put public safety at risk."

RELATED: Minneapolis leaders outline plans to strengthen city’s city’s violent crime response

The Attorney’s Office says the case was prosecuted as part of a joint federal, state and local Project Safe Neighborhoods Program, and was the result of an investigation done by Minneapolis Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.