YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A youth football coach in Youngstown pleaded guilty Friday to a federal gun charge.
Randy Triplett, 31, entered a guilty plea Friday in the U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Sentencing is set for Jan. 12 before U.S. Judge David Ruiz.
Triplett has been free on $20,000 unsecured bond since his indictment in August.
Reports said Triplett was pulled over at about 7:50 p.m. July 2 by Liberty police after he was spotted riding a motorcycle at Mansel Drive and Belmont Avenue for an improper turn.
Reports said when Triplett was asked if he had a gun, he at first said no, and he also gave officers a fake name. Reports said Triplett told police that he had a license but not a motorcycle endorsement. When told to turn the motorcycle off, reports said Triplett told police he had done nothing wrong and was only going to the store. He accused police of trying to put him in jail and he appeared very nervous, reports said.
When Triplett was asked to confirm his name, reports said he admitted he gave a false name. When asked why he would give a false name, he told police that he was the coach of a youth football team, according to the report.
After he was handcuffed, Triplett was asked again if he had any weapons, and he said “no,” reports said. Reports said a records check came back that Triplett has an active protection order against him, which means he is not allowed to have a gun. When police looked in the front compartment of the motorcycle, they found a loaded 9mm handgun, reports said.
On his way to the Trumbull County Jail, reports said Triplett told police he started a youth football team in Youngstown to help combat violence. Reports said he told police because he stays in Youngstown, he needs a gun for protection and that he was not using the gun to harm anyone.
When asked if he made a great example for his players, Triplett said, “me having a firearm, that don’t make me a bad person.” He said he was a good person and also said, “he has to protect himself from people like you, too, though.” He also added, “God’s gonna get you big dog, but that’s up to God, not me.”
Besides not being allowed to have the gun because of the protection order, Triplett is also not allowed to have a gun because of 2012 convictions in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court for carrying concealed weapons, improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, tampering with evidence and receiving stolen property.
He also has a drug conviction in 2014 from Mahoning County Common Pleas Court as well as federal convictions in 2014 on drug charges.
In June, Triplett started the Youngstown Little Bears football team in June. At the time he told WKBN: “All I really want is the kids to get here. If you bring your kids here just trust me with your kids and I promise I’m going to make them good, I’m going to make them better. They’re going to stay out of the streets. They’re going to be better athletes and better men.”