Andrew Mitchell and Johnny Vail

A federal judge in Mobile, Alabama, on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, sentenced Johnny Tyrece Vail (left) and Andrew Lee Mitchell to prison for federal gun violations. 

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Two men implicated in a shootout with police at a public housing complex last summer will spend time in prison on federal guns charges.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Beaverstock on Tuesday sentenced Johnny Tyrece Vail, 21, to five years and 11 months for possession of a stolen firearm. The judge also sentenced Andrew Lee Mitchell, 20, to the five-year maximum for possession of a firearm while under indictment on a felony charge.

Both men pleaded guilty to the federal charges in October.

Mitchell’s sentencing in the federal case resolves just one aspect of the case. He still faces three counts of attempted murder in state court. Beaverstock ordered that Vail serve his federal sentence on top of any time he might get in Mobile County Circuit Court on the state charges.

The defendants admitted in plea documents that they were near the R.V. Taylor public housing complex when police patrolling the area confronted them on Duval Street on Aug. 8.

Mitchell admitted in his plea agreement that he fired at police from a .40-caliber pistol as the officers were getting out of their patrol car. Return fire wounded both defendants. The officers were not hurt.

Because of a previous indictment on a first-degree robbery, Mitchell was legally barred from having a gun.

Authorities said Vail did not fire 9mm Glock pistol, but he dropped it along with a brown bag as he ran toward an abandoned apartment in the complex.

Court records show that the gun had been reported stolen from a police officer during a home burglary in April. Vail, according to authorities, told investigators that he had received the weapon as a gift after getting out of prison on a previous charge.

Vail has a lengthy arrest record. A Mobile County Circuit Court judge sentenced him as a youthful offender to a year in jail for firing into an occupied home and an occupied vehicle in 2015.

In one incident, according to court records, Vail fired at a house on Lucille Street in October 2015. A few days later, the court documents state, Vail jumped out from behind a tree and shot at a resident of that house after he got inside his vehicle.

Court records show other arrests of arrests include:

-- A charge in May 2017 of carrying a pistol without a permit.

-- A charge in June 2017 of harassment and carrying a pistol without a permit. Police also accused him of giving them his brother’s name and birth date when they asked who he was.

-- A charge in October 2018 of possession of marijuana during a traffic stop in Bay Minette.

-- A charge in May of this year of domestic violence in Fairhope.

(Updated at 1:07 p.m. to clarify the federal charge Andrew Lee Mitchell pleaded guilty to). 

All content © 2020, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.


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(1) comment


That's a 9mm "Glock" pistol, not a "Block".

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