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High Springs man sentenced to 19 months in prison on gun charge

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Ricardo Lamar Neal, 31, of High Springs, was sentenced yesterday to 19.65 months in prison on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, with credit for 160 days served.

Neal was arrested on February 21, 2022, after allegedly confronting a man in the 14300 block of NW 155th Place in Alachua, claiming that the man had followed him on the highway. Neal allegedly became upset, grabbed a pistol, and fired one round into the air. A shell casing was later found at the location. Neal then allegedly pointed the pistol at a crowd of people at the location and told the man, “You don’t want this” before leaving the area. The victim told law enforcement that he did not want to press charges, so no aggravated assault charges were filed regarding the threat to shoot, but Alachua Police Department (APD) later filed charges of firing a weapon in public and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Officers learned that Neal was a convicted felon who is not permitted to possess a firearm and that he had a warrant out of Alachua County for felony domestic battery. (The domestic battery charges were later dropped.)

Within a few minutes, the car was located near Walmart off NW 23rd Street in Gainesville. When a Gainesville Police Department (GPD) officer approached the car, Neal allegedly ran. When an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ASO) K-9 deputy told him to stop running, Neal reportedly jumped over a wall.

Citizens reported seeing Neal running into the Walmart store, where he was located wearing different clothes and a hat, all of which still had the tags attached. Neal was detained in the store but then began throwing up.

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Neal was taken to the hospital, where an APD officer arrived with an arrest warrant. ASO deputies added a charge of resisting without violence and the felony warrant. GPD found a gun in the vehicle and charged Neal with three counts of possession of a weapon or ammunition by a convicted felon and one count of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.

In May, Neal entered pleas of nolo contendere to the charge of resisting arrest from ASO and 15 counts of violating pre-trial release conditions in the domestic battery case by contacting the victim, all misdemeanors. He was sentenced to 180 days in the Alachua County Jail.

The APD charge of firing a weapon in public was dropped, and the APD charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon was consolidated into the GPD case.

Today, Neal entered a plea of nolo contendere to one charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and Judge James Colaw sentenced him to 19.65 months in state prison. The other firearm charges from GPD were dropped as part of the plea deal.

  • And they wonder why they have problems with convicted felons carrying firearms in this County, 19 months will NEVER be a deterrent to punk thugs like this.

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