Car shooter gets seven years in jail

PHILIPSBURG–The Joint Court of Justice on Thursday confirmed the verdict of the Court of First Instance which sentenced a 30-year-old suspect to seven years for shooting a man in his car outside a grocery store in Middle Region on February 10, 2016.

During the July 20 hearing, the Prosecutor’s Office had called for a nine-year prison sentence in what it considered a case of attempted manslaughter and of illegal firearm possession. During the appeal hearings, which were held on December 15 and December 22, Acting Solicitor General Anton van der Schans called upon the Appellate Court to uphold the verdict of the Court of First Instance.

Suspect Franky R.L. Gomez’s lawyer Safira Ibrahim stated that a seven-year prison sentence would be “excessive.” However, the three-judge Joint Court panel found seven years a “suitable” and “warranted” penalty.

The incident left the victim nursing a bullet wound to his back. A bullet hole left the rear window of his Hyundai Getz shattered.

The victim and shooter were involved in an altercation about the shooter’s girlfriend, who also was the victim’s ex-girlfriend.

The victim went into a coma for three days. Surgery was required as he suffered internal bleeding in the chest area. He remained in hospital for two weeks.

Gomez did not deny that he had fired a shot at the car. “On February 10, 2016, I shot at D. [the victim – Ed.], when he was in his car…I bought the weapon from a friend, a Spanish man. At that evening I already had the weapon with me,” he said last month during the appeal hearing.

The Court of Appeals found attempted manslaughter and possession of semi-automatic pistol proven. In sentencing, the Court took into account that the defendant had shot his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend at close range, and while the man had attempted to drive away.

It was also taken into consideration that in 2010 Gomez was sentenced to seven years for armed robbery with violence. He was sent home on early release in April 2015, but two months later his conditional dismissal was revoked as he did not comply with the conditions attached to the release. Shortly after his release from prison he became involved in the shooting incident in Middle Region.

Source: The Daily Herald