PITTSFIELD -- A city man was sentenced to two years in jail after admitting he was illegally carrying a loaded pistol and bullets last August.

Jamar Lewis Holloway, 21, pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Friday to single counts of illegal possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.

About 9:15 p.m. Aug. 19, Pittsfield police received multiple reports of shots fired in the area of Columbus and Circular avenues. When officers arrived they spotted two men jogging toward the Renton housing projects on West Street, according to a police report. When told to stop the men ran.

Holloway was stopped under the railroad bridge on West Street after he tripped and fell and was found to be in possession of a silver Raven Arms MP-25 pistol and a sock containing a few rounds of .25-caliber ammunition, police said.

His co-defendant, Jerrel Hall, 22, also of Pittsfield, was stopped nearby. Police allegedly found a bag containing six smaller bags of cocaine valued at about $300. Inside Hall's backpack was a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver with two spent and four unspent bullets. His case is pending.

No one was injured in the shooting, according to police.

Holloway told officers he was concerned that he had been shot, but police found no wounds, according to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Joseph Yorlano.

The defendant told police someone had handed him the gun shortly after the shooting, the prosecutor said.

On Friday, Yorlano asked Judge Mary-Lou Rup to sentence Holloway to 2 1/2 to 3 years in state prison, citing the defendant's criminal history he said was "not lengthy, but consistent" and included assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery and witness intimidation. He said the defendant had been given chances before, including receiving continuations without a finding of guilt, probation and short jail sentences in earlier cases.

"This defendant is in Superior Court today because of the choices he made," the prosecutor said.

Yorlano also pointed to the dangerousness of the situation that led to Holloway's arrest and the problems with "unchecked" illegal guns in that part of Pittsfield.

Holloway's attorney, Raymond J. Jacoub, said his client has had a "change of attitude" since the birth of his daughter, wasn't involved in or charged with crimes related to the shooting and that there was no evidence that the gun had been fired.

The lawyer said he tried to convince Holloway to go forward with a motion to suppress evidence, but that his client insisted on pleading guilty.

Holloway, he said, has been working toward getting a high school diploma while he has been incarcerated and wants to become an electrician. He asked for an 18-month jail sentence and a six-month suspended sentence for his client.

"I'm going to take a chance on you," Rup told Holloway. "The time has come to turn things around."

She sentenced him to two years in the Berkshire Jail & House of Correction followed by a six- month sentence that was suspended for a year. During the probation period the defendant must attain his high school diploma, refrain from drugs and alcohol, agree to random testing and look for and maintain employment.

Holloway was credited for 277 days he has spent in jail awaiting the outcome of the case and unable to make bail.

A charge of improper storage of a firearm was dismissed at the request of the DA's Office.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
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