Missouri man sentenced to 20 years for illegal firearms following gunfight and fatal collision

Man in jail behind bars (Prison)

A Missouri, man was sentenced in federal court for illegally possessing firearms following a three-vehicle collision in which he struck and killed another motorist while fleeing from a gunfight.

Keith L. Carnes, 31, of Kansas City was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to 20 years in federal prison without parole.

On Nov. 5, 2019, Carnes was found guilty at trial of one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and two counts of being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm.

On Aug. 30, 2016, Carnes was in a gunfight near the 3600 block of Wabash Avenue in Kansas City, Mo. During the gunfight, his handgun jammed and he was shot numerous times. Carnes, who was high on marijuana, cocaine, and phencyclidine, fled the area of the gunfight at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour and ran a red light, crashing into a pickup truck, which led to a multiple-vehicle accident.

Kansas City police officers responded to the accident at the intersection of 63rd Street and Prospect Avenue. Three vehicles were involved in the accident, including a 2008 Pontiac G6 driven by Carnes. Video evidence introduced during the trial demonstrated that the Pontiac, which had multiple bullet holes in the driver’s side doors, was traveling southbound on Prospect Avenue at a high rate of speed and failed to stop for the red traffic signal. The Pontiac struck a Dodge Ram, which was westbound on 63rd Street, killing the 24-year-old driver and causing it to strike a Nissan Quest and a pole on the southwest corner of the intersection. 

Carnes, who had blood on his t-shirt, told officers, “I have been shot, I know I have been shot.” Police officers broke a window in the Pontiac so they could reach Carnes and provide medical assistance. Officers saw a bag of marijuana and a Bersa Thunder .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun on the driver’s side floorboard. The handgun had blood on it. Carnes was transported by emergency medical service to an area hospital for treatment. According to court documents, lab reports from the hospital confirmed that Carnes had marijuana, cocaine, and phencyclidine in his system. The driver of the Dodge Ram was transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Evidence introduced during the trial indicated Carnes had used the same Bersa Thunder .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun in a shooting on Aug. 16, 2016, in the 3600 block of Wabash Avenue. The victim of that shooting positively identified Carnes in a photographic lineup as the person who fired four shots at him. Officers recovered shell casings from the scene of the shooting and a forensics expert later confirmed they were fired by the same firearm found in Carnes’ vehicle on Aug. 30, 2016.

Carnes had also been arrested for driving while intoxicated following a traffic stop on Feb. 10, 2013. Kansas City police officers stopped Carnes, who was driving a Jeep Liberty when radar indicated Carnes was driving 54 miles per hour in a 35-miles-per-hour zone. Officers, who smelled a strong odor of marijuana in the vehicle, found a loaded Glock .45-caliber pistol in Carnes’ waistband.

While being detained without bond and awaiting trial, according to court documents, Carnes assaulted a corrections officer.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony, or who is an unlawful user of a controlled substance, to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Carnes has prior felony convictions for an assault in which he shot two persons and for possession of a controlled substance.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Trey Alford and Sean T. Foley. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.