New Ceasefire Prosecutor takes aim at violent crime in Suffolk

Published 8:00 am Thursday, May 16, 2024

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At Suffolk Public Schools’ April Gang Violence Awareness event, residents may have noticed a new face joining the City’s fight against crime.

Joining Commonwealth Attorney Narendra R. Pleas’ team, Thomas Jack Bondurant has taken on the role of Operations Ceasefire Prosecutor as part of the Pleas’ Operation Ceasefire Program, aiming at the recent crime and violence issues in the City of Suffolk. Bondurant will succeed Amanda Abbey, who remains with the office in another role.

On taking on the role, Bondurant says it “feels great” and notes wanting to work in criminal prosecution since studying for the Law School Admission Test.

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“I had a history in the Attorney General’s Office down South Carolina, Solicitor’s Office in South Carolina, Prosecutor’s Office in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. But this one in particular, the reason I got into it is, in my mind, I like to think I’m a big picture guy and I like to think my role is addressing some of that violent crime. That’s kind of what gets my blood pumping, what I think is really important, Bondurant said. “Obviously, all crime has its impacts, but at the end of the day, though, the guns and the shootings and the gang violence and things like that if I can have some even minimal, measurable impact on it and kind of makes it all worth it.”

A graduate of both the University of Washington and the University of South Carolina, Bondurant says he spent most of his law school time at the latter doing mock trials and trial advocacy. College studies weren’t Bondurant’s first exposure to the world of law, as his mother is a public defender and his father is a federal prosecutor, greatly influencing his work today.

“From a very young age, [I] was seeing both sides of the justice system, whether it be prosecution or defense,” he said. “Kind of seeing what they were doing kind of inspired me to want to go down this path, even before getting into the legal, law school setting.”

Bondurant says he has a two-pronged approach to help address crime in Suffolk: holding bad actors accountable and educating the community.

“I think it’s necessary to go after some of these folks with everything. We’ve got to get them off the streets to make the community safe. Especially when it comes to the shootings and the violence and the gang activity. There has to be kind of a stand against that. And I think the community as a whole is kind of ready for that, and hopefully, (in) this position, I can take that step,” Bondurant said. 

Bondurant also says it is essential to reach out to the community and inform young people during their formative years to prevent these issues.

“I mean, obviously, we want a world with no violence, with no crime. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it always works. But even if some of these outreach events can change one kid’s path from being one of the people we’re seeing [in the] present day that I’m prosecuting, I think that second prong of the approach will be all worth it.”