HOUSTON, Texas — A militia member who was fired upon by a U.S. Border Patrol agent who was pursuing illegal immigrants could face federal or state charges. John Frederick Foerster was in the possession of a firearm at the time the Border Patrol agent fired on him and has since been discovered to be a convicted felon.
According to numerous news reports Foerster was in possession of an AK-47 rifle at the time of the shooting. He told Breitbart Texas’ Ildefonso Ortiz, “I had a weapon for my protection,” during an interview which was published on Tuesday. The militia group’s spokesman, K.C. Massey told Ortiz, “After five years he is legal to have a weapon in private property.”
That statement by Massey and the conclusion apparently drawn by Foerster is not correct. Breitbart Texas legal analyst, Lana Shadwick, clarified the law in this matter. “Under Texas Penal Code Section 46.04, the exception for a felon to possess a firearm only applies to the premises at which the person lives.” Shadwick is a former appellate prosecutor having served in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Houston. She has represented the State of Texas on several appeals under this very section of the law.
“A felon cannot have a firearm in their home until the statutory time period runs out,” Shadwick explained. “They can only have a gun in their home after the statutory period in the penal code runs out.”
Possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony is also a crime under federal law in nearly all circumstances. Under federal law, Foerster could receive a sentence of up to ten years in prison if he were charged and convicted under 18 USC, 922(G) and (N). Under Texas law, the offense would be a third degree felony punishable by between two and ten years if he were charged and convicted.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas responded to an inquiry from this writer. Public Affairs Officer Angela Dodge told Breitbart Texas, “We do not speculate at to potential charges or the existence of non-existence of federal investigations.” She declined any further comment for this matter.
Melissa Landin, Public Information Officer for the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office was well aware of the incident involving Foerster. “At the current time, no charges are pending against Mr. Foerster,” Landin said. She could not confirm at this time as to whether any charges under Texas law would be forthcoming.
Foerster pleaded guilty in May 2001 to three charges including a felony charge of burglarizing a building according to an article in the San Antonio Express-News by Joshua Fechter. Foerster served part of his sentence in Cameron County before being transferred to a prison run by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He was released from prison on August 9, 2002. He has since faced additional misdemeanor charges including possessing a switchblade and knuckles. He pleaded guilty and served 180 days in Jail. He also was arrested in Fort Bend County on misdemeanor theft charges.
Bob Price is a staff writer and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.