SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah Police have arrested a convicted felon and known drug distributor this week after an officer witnessed the 31-year-old draw a weapon during a dispute outside of a business.
Undercover officers were conducting surveillance outside of a business on Waters Avenue on the afternoon of June 26 when they saw the suspect, identified as Frenchy Hilliard, pull a firearm with an extended magazine while in a dispute with two other men. When Hilliard noticed the officers, he sped away at a high rate of speed and crashed into a parked car in the 1011 block of E. 39th Street. He tried to get away on foot but was taken into custody. The gun officers recovered was determined to be stolen and had an altered serial number.
Hilliard was booked into the Chatham County Detention Center on charges of fleeing to elude, obstruction by fleeing, reckless driving, improper backing, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, theft by receiving (firearm), altered ID (firearm), and tampering with evidence.
Police say Hilliard has a history of arrests in Savannah and has ties to local gangs and groups. In Fall 2017, he received a custom End Gun Violence notification, attended a call-in, and was part of an enforcement action. During End Gun Violence call-ins, offenders meet with local law enforcement, local and state prosecutors, religious leaders and community members to discuss their actions and provide them with a way out of the lifestyle. Those in attendance are warned that if they continue to commit crimes, they will be prosecuted federally.
"We wanted a different outcome for Frenchy Hilliard, and we gave him an opportunity to change his lifestyle," Capt. Lenny Gunther, SPD coordinator for End Gun Violence, said in a release. "We also made it clear to him that if he continued to live this type of lifestyle that would happen to him. This case will certainly be getting special attention by gun investigators and will be presented to the United States Attorney's Office for federal prosecution. This should be a warning to his associates that we do not take these acts lightly."
Police say Hilliard had past convictions of sale of a controlled substance in 2006, theft by receiving and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in 2011, as well as aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in 2014.