On Dec. 18, a California Highway Patrol Officer arrested a man who had led him on a brief car chase along I-580. The officer found a handgun in the man's jacket pocket.
The gun, like so many in California, came from out of state, according to a complaint filed Tuesday in the Federal District Court in Oakland, and the alleged driver, identified as Alexander Kanellis, had recently served time for a felony conviction.
The CHP officer, the complaint states, had spotted a Ford Mustang speeding eastbound on the highway. When he pulled behind the car with his lights and siren on, the Mustang "failed to pull over and instead led the officer on a short pursuit off the highway onto a local street" in Hayward.
Soon, though, the driver apparently lost control, and the Mustang crashed into some pillars around the pumps of a gas station on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Grove Way. (The complaint does not specify the station, but there is a Chevron and a 76 at that intersection).
The driver then bounced from the vehicle and ran away. The CHP officer, with help from other responding officers, chased him down and arrested him. A search netted an Excam model GT27 .25-caliber handgun, along with with five rounds of ammo, according to an affidavit signed by Frank Cheng, a special agent of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
The gun, the small snub-nose variety you see people pull from ankle-straps in action movies, is not illegal in California. Kanellis, though, was convicted of robbery in 2009, meaning that federal law prohibits him from possessing a firearm. A couple of weeks ago, state officials announced that at least 19,000 people in California illegally own guns even though, as the Chronicle reported, they had "lost their legal rights to keep the weapons due to felony convictions, domestic violence actions, mental health conditions, or addiction to narcotic drugs, among other reasons."
While the complaint does not state where Kanellis allegedly purchased the gun, it does claim that the weapon's serial number proves that it was not manufactured in California.
Prosecutors are charging him with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, which carries a maximum of 10 years in prison.