In a recent court ruling, a Paragould man who shot at police officers has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, the maximum sentence allowed by law. Taj Harris, 23, was observed by Paragould police officers walking near Walnut Street and Second Street in Paragould. With an active arrest warrant, officers attempted to take Harris into custody, but he responded by pulling out a firearm and shooting at the officers. The officers were forced to take cover as Harris continued to fire. Harris was eventually trapped by a civilian and arrested by officers. A stolen firearm was found at the scene, and in a phone conversation with his mother, Harris admitted to shooting at the officers. Following his guilty plea, Harris will also face three years of supervised release. The case was investigated by the Paragould Police Department and the FBI.
Paragould Man Who Shot At Police Officers Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison
The case involving the Paragould man who shot at police officers has garnered significant attention due to the gravity of the incident and its legal implications. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the case, including the incident details, the arrest and indictment, the guilty plea and sentencing, the investigation, the prosecution, the sentence and additional terms, the absence of parole in the federal system, the law enforcement agencies involved, and contact information for further inquiries.
The incident occurred on February 7, 2021, in Paragould, Arkansas, near the intersection of Walnut Street and Second Street. Paragould police officers observed Taj Harris, 23, walking in the area, knowing he had an active warrant for his arrest. As an officer attempted to apprehend Harris, he pulled out a firearm and began shooting at the officer, forcing the officer to take cover. Another officer witnessed the shooting and believed the first officer had been hit, prompting them to fire multiple shots at Harris in self-defense.
Following the exchange of gunfire, officers pursued Harris on foot as he attempted to flee the scene. However, a civilian managed to corner Harris between a house and a fence by threatening him with a golf club. The civilian then alerted officers, who proceeded to make the arrest. During the arrest, a stolen firearm with a large capacity magazine was found near Harris’s feet. It is important to note that Harris is a convicted felon.
In a phone conversation the next day with his mother from Greene County Jail, Harris confessed to shooting at the police officers and expressed his intention to shoot them if they tried to apprehend him.
Arrest and Indictment
Harris was arrested on July 6, 2021, following a federal grand jury indictment. The arrest took place under circumstances that ensured the safety of both law enforcement officers and the suspect. At the scene of the arrest, evidence was collected and documented, including the stolen firearm with the large capacity magazine found near Harris’s feet.
A federal grand jury indicted Harris on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm. This charge carries a maximum sentence of 120 months in federal prison.
Guilty Plea and Sentencing
On November 15, 2022, Harris pleaded guilty to the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. His guilty plea marked an admission of guilt in the presence of the court and legal authorities.
Legal proceedings followed Harris’s guilty plea, leading to the sentencing hearing. The jurisdiction for the hearing was assigned to Judge Lee P. Rudofsky. Based on the gravity of the offense and the evidence presented, Judge Rudofsky imposed the maximum sentence allowed by law, sentencing Harris to 10 years in federal prison. Additionally, Harris was ordered to serve three years of supervised release following his incarceration. It is important to note that there is no parole in the federal system.
The investigation into the incident involved collaboration between the Paragould Police Department and the FBI. These law enforcement agencies worked together to gather evidence, conduct witness interviews, and piece together the events that took place on February 7, 2021. Their thorough investigation played a crucial role in the subsequent prosecution of the case.
The United States Attorney’s Office, specifically Assistant United States Attorney J. William Crow, took charge of prosecuting the case against Taj Harris. The prosecution team strategized and developed a legal approach to present the evidence gathered during the investigation in a court of law. Their goal was to secure a conviction based on the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident.
Throughout the prosecution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office presented evidence to substantiate the charges against Harris. This evidence included eyewitness testimony, ballistics analysis, and the stolen firearm found at the scene.
The prosecution also presented arguments to establish Harris’s culpability and to support the gravity of the charges. These arguments underscored the danger posed by Harris’s actions and his history as a convicted felon.
Sentence and Additional Terms
Upon his guilty plea, Harris was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment. This sentence reflects the severity of the offense committed by Harris and serves as a deterrent to others who may consider engaging in similar criminal acts. In addition to the prison term, Harris was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his sentence. It is crucial to note that parole is not available in the federal system.
The sentence and the additional terms imposed on Harris are designed to ensure public safety and hold individuals accountable for their actions. The supervised release period will provide oversight and support for Harris’s reintegration into society after his incarceration.
No Parole in the Federal System
It is important to highlight that the federal system does not offer parole to individuals convicted of federal crimes. This means that individuals, such as Harris, who receive a federal prison sentence must serve the entirety of their imposed term. The absence of parole in the federal system aims to promote a consistent and uniform approach to sentencing and deterrence.
This aspect of the federal system underscores the serious nature of federal crimes and the commitment of the federal justice system to uphold public safety and societal order.
Law Enforcement Agencies Involved
The investigation, arrest, and prosecution of Taj Harris involved the collaborative efforts of several law enforcement agencies. The Paragould Police Department, in conjunction with the FBI, played instrumental roles in ensuring a comprehensive and diligent investigation into the incident.
These agencies worked together to gather evidence, conduct interviews, and coordinate efforts to bring Harris to justice. The cooperation between local and federal law enforcement agencies demonstrates the shared commitment to maintaining public safety and upholding the rule of law.
For further inquiries or information related to this case, interested parties can reach out to the following law enforcement agencies:
- U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Arkansas
- Paragould Police Department
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)