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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Felon who live-streamed September hostage situation gets 246 months in federal prison

Austin Wenger, age 26, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, was sentenced Friday to 262 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for one count of being a Felon In Possession of a Firearm.

According to court records, on September 6, 2019, detectives with the Fayetteville Police Department were attempting to locate and arrest Wenger on a warrant related to a shooting he was involved in on September 5, 2019.

During the early morning hours on September 6, 2019, investigators received a tip that Wenger was located at a residence on North Club Drive in Fayetteville. At approximately 7:53 a.m. investigators, confirmed Wenger was inside the residence. 

Until approximately 3:40 p.m. on September 6, Wenger barricaded himself inside the residence and refused surrender to law enforcement. 

During this period, Wenger spoke with crisis negotiators who informed him that he was under arrest and directed him to release three children from inside the residence.  Investigators spent hours attempting to negotiate with Wenger to release the children inside the residence, but were unsuccessful. 

Eventually the three children were released from a back window. 

During the standoff, Wenger posted a live stream video on Facebook wherein he brandished a firearm, which he subsequently discharged on at least two occasions from inside the residence.  One projectile from the gun nearly struck a uniformed police officer stationed outside the home.

During the standoff, Emergency Response Team members used multiple gas canisters and had to breach the door to force Wenger’s surrender, which eventually took place around 3:40 p.m. 

Subsequent to his arrest, a search warrant was executed and the firearm Wenger possessed and discharged was located.  In addition, investigators located 6 spent shell casings of .40 caliber inside the residence. 

Wenger has been previously convicted of multiple felonies in state court and is therefore prohibited from possessing firearms.  Under federal law, Wenger is considered an Armed Career Criminal and subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 15 years because he has three prior convictions for violent felony offenses.

Wenger was indicted by a federal grand jury in November of 2019, and entered a guilty plea in February of 2020.

This case was investigated by the Fayetteville Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney David Harris prosecuted the case for the United States.

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