Pair Given Maximum 6-Year Sentences For Shooting At School Bus Stop

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - by Wendy King

Two Chattanooga teens were given six-year prison sentences on Tuesday by Criminal Court Judge Don Poole for a shooting at a bus stop and the ensuing high speed chase.  

Witnesses said Lonta Montrell Burress Jr., 18, and Darius Jerel Gustus, 19, fired shots at several high school students on Dec. 7, 2010, after they got off a school bus. They then tried to evade police as Burress drove 80 miles plus per hour down McCallie Avenue before the chase ended on Willow Street when the stolen truck he was driving rolled over numerous times. The students at the bus stop were not injured.

Burress and Gustus were each sentenced on three counts of aggravated assault and evading arrest. Burress was convicted for theft of property valued over $1,000, while Gustus was also convicted of possession of a deadly weapon and reckless endangerment.

Burress, who is awaiting trial for the July 2011 murder of Darius Townsend, and Gustus sat quietly during the hearing. The teens both had extensive Juvenile Court records along with several probation violations.

Hamilton County Assistant District Attorney Cameron Williams stated during arguments that Burress and Gustus were “dangerous offenders who have little to no regard for human life as they fired in a residential neighborhood as students were departing a school bus.”

Prosecutor Williams also spoke of the high-speed pursuit of the defendants in mid-afternoon traffic and how they narrowly avoided hitting a school bus as police were chasing them.

As for the Class C felony of aggravated assault that ranges from three to six years in prison, the prosecutor said it was insufficient for the circumstances saying that the public needed to be safe from Burress and Gustus because they would continue to “endanger the citizens of Chattanooga.”

Attorneys for Burress and Gustus said the case would be appealed stating that witnesses gave two different versions of events during the July trial adding that there was no evidence that Burress shot with and reloaded his gun while Gustus shot in the air and just wanted “to scare people.”

The defense attorneys have 30 days to appeal the sentences.


Catoosa County Arrest Report For March 20-26

Click  here  for the Catoosa County arrest report for March 20-26. (click for more)

Walker County Arrest Report For March 23-29

Here is the Walker County arrest report for March 23-29: MORGAN JASON DEWAYNE W/M 42 Officer GEBELEIN AGGRAVATED ASSAULT SIMMONS SHANNON NMN B/M 51 Officer GEDDIE SUSPENDED LICENSE, SPEEDING, SEAT BELT VIOLATION PARM JAMISON LANE W/M 26 Officer HUGGINS BATTERY F.V.A. CARDIN ROBERT RAYMOND W/M 51 Officer WILSON LEAVING THE ... (click for more)

Finley Stadium Needs To Grow Up - And Response

RE:  Finley Stadium Financial Picture Rosy; Beer And Alcohol Sales Approved; AstroTurf Almost Ready and City, County Pitching In $250,000 Each For New Finley Stadium AstroTurf I read a story here five days ago about a rosy future for Finley stadium. It lead me to believe that the stadium was making money and even improvements with donations.  Then we get a short ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The 15-Year-Old Marine

There are 58,267 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall that today sits majestically in the Constitution Gardens of our nation's capital. It has never been lost on me that 33,103 of those who are named were only 18 years old when they died. But what caught my eye during my morning reading is that one of the names carved in the black granite “Dan Bullock“ was only 15 years old ... (click for more)

Rail Runners Win In Double OT

East Ridge Alum Alex Wells has an impressive scoring resume from high school to now in semi pro, but missing is a game-winning shot at any level.   But Sunday afternoon in a Central Basketball Association game, he did everything but hit the winner (16 points) in guiding the Chattanooga Rail Runners to a 116-113 double overtime win against visiting Bowling Green (Ky.). ... (click for more)

UTC Women's Tennis Takes 1st Win Over Furman Since 1997

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s tennis got a huge monkey off its back with a 4-3 win over Furman on Sunday.  The Mocs snapped a 24-match losing streak against the Paladins with their first win in the series since 1997. UTC had come close in the last four meetings, falling 4-3 each time.  Today’s win gives Chattanooga a 14-2 overall record as it ... (click for more)