Feds now involved in case of child armed robbery suspect

Feds now involved in case of child armed robbery suspect
Joseph Charlton

PORTLAND, Ore. - A 34-year-old father whose son is one of two boys accused of being involved in an attempted armed robbery is now facing a federal firearms charge.

The trouble for Joseph Charlton began on Dec. 8 when investigators say two young boys - a 7-year-old and an 11-year-old - approached a woman in the parking lot of a church and tried to steal her truck.

Investigators say when the victim, Amy Garrett, refused, the two boys demanded she had over her wallet and phone. Garrett said the 11-year-old boy, who was holding the gun, threatened her.

"He said it was fully loaded and cocked and ready to go," Garrett said. "He told me he was going to blow my brains out if I didn't give him anything."

The boys didn't get anything from the woman and when police got there they tried to run away. But officers caught up to them and said they found a cocked and loaded handgun in the 11-year-old boy's pocket.

A few days later, the boy's father, Joseph Charlton, spoke to KATU and said he was trying to get his son on the right path and that his boy had gotten the gun from a "troublemaker in the neighborhood."

But investigators believe the gun actually came from the boy's home and they arrested Charlton on a city ordinance that prohibits adults from leaving an unsecured firearm where a minor can get to it. The ordinance was one of several that were put into place in 2010 with the goal of curbing gun violence in Portland and this was the first time it was used.

This week, the United States Attorney's Office in Oregon announced that they had filed a federal charge in connection with what happened.

Charlton, who has a criminal record for multiple assaults and who spent three years behind bars (from 2002 to 2005) is prohibited from possessing firearms because he has a felony conviction on his record.

In light of that, the United States Attorney's Office in Oregon filed a charge of felon in possession of a firearm against Charlton, which means he could spend up to 10 years in prison.

Charlton remains in local custody while he awaits a court date on the federal charge.