United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
Felon Who Chased And Fired Gun At Car Full Of Strangers Sentenced To 11 Years In Prison
Defendant Also Firebombed Vehicle over Expulsion from ‘Nickelsville’
A repeat offender with a history of assault and drug crimes was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 11 years in prison and three years of supervised release for two crimes in early April 2012 involving guns and explosives, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. SHANE STEPHEN ANELLO, 37, pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a stolen firearm and unlawful possession of a destructive device. The first charge stems from a car chase on April 3, 2012 where ANELLO started following and then shot at a car full of strangers. The second charge relates to the April 1, 2012, firebombing of a vehicle at the ‘Nickelsville’ homeless encampment in Seattle. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones told him, “These were two crimes of violence, two crimes that caused horrific fear in the victims.”
“The random and dangerous actions of this defendant could have resulted in tragedy,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “He targeted strangers and the homeless. We need him off our streets for a significant period, with careful monitoring by Federal Probation on his release.”
According to documents filed in the case, just after midnight on April 3, 2012, three people were stopped at a red light at the Columbian Way exit from southbound Interstate 5. A man, later identified as ANELLO, pulled up next to the victim’s car at the light. ANELLO was driving a white Ford Escort. ANELLO made eye contact with the victims in the car. The victims had never encountered ANELLO before. When the light turned green, ANELLO began following the victims’ car. ANELLO turned off his car’s headlights and followed the victims at a high rate of speed. ANELLO attempted to ram the victims’ car, and ANELLO fired at least one shot at the victim car as he chased it. The victims saw the muzzle flash and heard the sound of a gunshot. Fortunately, they were able to get away from ANELLO. Seattle Police responded to their 9-1-1 call, and started canvassing the Georgetown area for the car. Police spotted the vehicle driving with its lights out, and cornered it in a parking lot. ANELLO was arrested and a Colt Python .38 caliber revolver and ammunition were found in the car.
After ANELLO was arrested and identified in the chase and shooting, Seattle Police linked him to the firebombing of a vehicle in the parking lot of the ‘Nickelsville’ homeless camp in South Seattle. ANELLO threw a ‘Molotov cocktail’ at the car belonging to the person who had barred him from returning to the homeless camp. The gas filled bottle caught the vehicle on fire, but fortunately the gas tank of the car did not explode – had that happened those nearby could have been badly injured or killed.
ANELLO is prohibited from possessing firearms because of these prior felony convictions in King County Superior Court: assault, 2003; delivery of cocaine, 2004; conspiracy to deliver cocaine, 2006; possession of cocaine, 2006, 2007, 2010; and assault and attempting to elude a police vehicle, 2008.
The case was investigated by the Seattle Police Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) with assistance from the Seattle Fire Department.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg.