A Charlotte man whom authorities say shot and robbed a man during a 2011 drug deal and later wounded a police officer will spend nearly 30 years in federal prison.
Malcolm Xavier Springs, 22, pleaded guilty in 2011 to three charges, including possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Springs was sentenced this week to 355 months in prison without the possibility of parole, the U.S. Attorneys Office said Thursday. The sentence was lengthened, officials said, because Springs had four prior felony convictions.
Springs was arrested in March 2011 after a series of events that started with a violent robbery in the parking lot of a gas station on West Trade Street.
Authorities said Springs had gone to the gas station to buy crack cocaine from a man. But Springs stole the drugs and showed a firearm, officials said. During a fight over the gun, the other man was shot in the arm and abdomen. Springs fled.
A short time later, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers spotted Springs car and tried to stop him. But Springs did not pull over, authorities said, leading to a brief chase. It ended when Springs drove to a dead end and jumped from the vehicle.
Authorities say an officer spotted Springs as he was moving between two houses. They say Springs shot at Officer Brent Harrison, hitting him in the leg. Harrison returned fire and struck Springs.
Springs was then taken into custody.
Some neighbors who witnessed the incident said at the time they felt officers went too far after Springs was handcuffed and on the ground. They said officers hit, kicked and struck Springs for about five minutes, stopping when a neighbor yelled he would get a video camera.
In April 2011, Deputy Chief Kerr Putney confirmed that officers had hit and kicked Springs after hed been shot. But officials disputed that Springs was beaten after he was handcuffed.
The officers used a reasonable level of force, Putney said, adding that Springs was not obeying the officers commands.
On Thursday, officials said that prosecutors told a sentencing judge that Springs actions were reckless and wanton, and his shooting at the officer showed complete lack of respect for the law.
Malcolm Springs ruthless actions put many lives at risk, said Roger Coe, acting special agent in charge of the FBIs office in Charlotte. The FBI and our law enforcement partners stand united in our commitment to hold violent offenders accountable for their negative impact on our communities.
Said Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Rodney Monroe: It is unfortunate that the incident escalated to where the suspect fired a gun and placed two lives in danger. Oftentimes those who are intent on breaking the law and who knowingly engage in criminal activities also lack a regard for human life.
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