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Convicted felon pleads guilty to possessing firearms during civil unrest at Richmond Confederate monument

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Posted at 1:15 PM, Aug 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-30 13:15:47-04

RICHMOND, Va. - A Chesterfield man and previously convicted felon pleaded guilty Tuesday to possession of an assault rifle, handgun, ballistic vest, and eight magazines of ammunition after leaving the Robert E. Lee Monument during civil unrest on June 12 in Richmond.

According to court documents, Matthew Lee Frezza, 37, possessed an assault rifle and handgun during the course of a traffic stop during civil unrest.

Police say the incident started when officers with the Richmond Police Department observed a caravan of three trucks driving recklessly in the vicinity of the Robert E. Lee Monument. According to CBS 6, the trucks approached bicyclists at a demonstration, with one of the trucks running over a bicycle while fleeing the area.

Based on this reckless driving, officers executed a traffic stop on one of the pickup trucks at the intersection of Old Mill Road and Boatwright Road.

Upon approaching the truck, officers saw three occupants inside, with an individual later identified as Frezza in the front passenger seat of the truck. All three occupants of the truck were armed with firearms, including assault rifles.

Based on the firearms and the vehicles' prior presence at the Robert E. Lee Monument,officers asked the three occupants to step out of the truck. As Frezza exited the truck, officers took an assault rifle from his possession, removed a handgun and two clips from a holster on his thigh, and removed a ballistic vest from his body that contained six rifle magazines with ammunition.

On the scene, officers determined that Frezza was a convicted felon and placed him under arrest.

Frezza pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced on December 10.