News and Press Releases

Convicted Felon Fired Nine Shots Following Fight Outside Apartment Complex

August 29, 2008

SYLVESTER J. ALDERMAN, 22, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 105 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release for being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. ALDERMAN was arrested on July 30, 2007, after firing nine shots following a fight in a parking lot at the Cedar Village Apartments on South 129th Street in Seattle. The fight, and the shooting, was caught on surveillance video in a parking lot where children were playing. The shooting victim says he was grazed by a bullet as he fled. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman told ALDERMAN, “Your criminal history tells me you’re a dangerous individual that I must remove from the community.”

According to records filed in federal court, on the evening of July 29, 2007, numerous people called 9-1-1 after witnessing a fight and shooting in the south Seattle parking lot. When police arrived they found nine shell casings on the ground and bullet damage to numerous cars. A 7-year-old girl at the scene had wounds to her hand likely caused by a bullet fragment. Another young witness, an 11-year-old boy, identified the apartment where the shooter had fled. Officers surrounded the apartment and tried to contact those inside but got no response. Shortly after midnight, a SWAT team stormed the apartment and arrested ALDERMAN and his girlfriend. In the apartment they found pieces of a disassembled Glock, model 19, 9mm semi-automatic handgun. A surveillance video submitted to the court today shows the events in the parking lot: ALDERMAN fights with another man and then pulls the Glock and chases the man firing at him nine times.

ALDERMAN was prohibited from possessing a firearm because of two prior convictions in King County. In 2004, ALDERMAN was convicted of Robbery. In 2005, ALDERMAN was convicted of Theft when he stole a car at gunpoint.

In his sentencing memo, Special Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Colasurdo pointed out that this case was, at its core, more than a typical felon in possession case. “Alderman did not merely possess a firearm, but rather he used it with the intent to inflict great harm, if not death. His decision and subsequent actions that day not only endangered the life of his intended target, but also the lives of all the individuals at the apartment complex that day, as well as all those driving by. Alderman’s decision to chase after and fire his gun nine times was not an act of self defense, but one fueled by anger and motivated by revenge. It is difficult to imagine more dangerous conduct,” Mr. Colasurdo wrote in his sentencing memo.

Judge Pechman noted ALDERMAN’s dangerousness saying you “pumped nine bullets into the community.... You are part of the problem not the solution.”

ALDERMAN was prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program. Unveiled by President George W. Bush in May 2001, Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), is a comprehensive and strategic approach to gun law enforcement. PSN is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America by networking both new and existing local programs that target gun crime and then providing them with the resources and tools they need to succeed. Implementation at the local level -- in this case, in King County-- has fostered close partnerships between federal, state and local prosecutors and law enforcement.

The case was investigated by the King County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Colasurdo. Mr. Colasurdo is a Deputy King County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute gun cases in federal court.

For additional information, or a copy of the surveillance video, please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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