A Springfield, Missouri, man was sentenced in federal court today for illegally possessing a firearm and for making a threatening phone call that caused disruption at the Springfield National Airport.
Dustin B. Gowens, 39, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to four years in federal prison without parole.
On Feb. 22, 2020, Gowens pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of maliciously conveying false information.
Gowens admitted that on Sept. 25, 2018, he was in possession of a Jimenez Arms 9mm semi-automatic pistol. A clerk at the Kum & Go gas station called police officers when he saw Gowens pull the firearm from his pants pocket. When officers arrived, Gowens was standing outside with the gun in his hand. Gowens walked away, hiding the pistol in between a cage that contained propane tanks. The officer ordered him to lie on the ground, placed him in handcuffs, then found the firearm. Gowens, who was also in possession of four methadone pills, was arrested.
A few days later, on Sept. 28, 2018, Gowens called 911 to report that there was a group at the Springfield National Airport who had taken hostages and were in possession of a bomb. The duress alarm was sounded at the airport. When police officers responded to the airport alarm, the 911 dispatcher informed them that the phone call had originated from a pay phone at the airport. Surveillance cameras captured footage of Gowens, who was still seated on a bench nearby, making the phone call. Officers approached Gowens, who admitted making the call, and arrested him.
Gowens’s actions caused substantial disruption to the airport and caused delays of two departing flights.
Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Gowens has prior felony convictions for aggravated burglary, tampering with a motor vehicle, and theft of merchandise. Gowens also has eight misdemeanor convictions and faces two active warrants and five pending cases in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. He has arrests or convictions in six different states.