Missouri man pleads guilty to illegal firearm following shootout at Independence motel

Guilty Plea

 A Missouri man pleaded guilty in federal court to illegally possessing a firearm following a shootout at an Independence, Mo., motel.

Randy K. McGaugh, 54, of Wellington, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lajuana M. Counts to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

By pleading guilty, McGaugh admitted that he was in possession of a Canik TP9 9mm semi-automatic handgun on Aug. 25, 2020. Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. McGaugh has two prior felony convictions for resisting arrest, two prior felony convictions for tampering with a motor vehicle, and prior felony convictions for domestic assault, burglary, and possession of a controlled substance.

According to court documents, the investigation began on Aug. 8, 2020, when Independence police officers responded to a shooting at the Truman Inn, 4048 S. Lynn Court Drive in Independence. McGaugh had been involved in a shootout with another person at the motel, identified in court documents as “R.C.,” witnesses told police officers. McGaugh had fired nine shots through the door of R.C.’s motel room, and R.C. had fired three shots through the door at McGaugh. McGaugh was no longer at the scene of the shooting when officers arrived. 

A confidential source provided information to law enforcement to locate McGaugh. On Aug. 25, 2020, police officers moved to apprehend McGaugh as he was getting out of a vehicle at an Independence residence. He ran toward a wooded area behind the house with officers in pursuit. After he ran into the wooded area, officers utilized a police service dog, which found McGaugh on the ledge of a creek bed under heavy, thick brush. Directly below the ledge where McGaugh was found, officers found the 9mm handgun, loaded with 18 rounds in the magazine and one round in the chamber.

Under federal statutes, McGaugh is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Caleb J. Aponte, who is a cross-designated prosecutor from the Missouri Attorney General’s office as part of the Safer Streets Initiative to combat violent crime. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.