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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fayetteville Man Sentenced for Violent Hobbs Act Robbery and Discharging of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence

GREENVILLE – The United States Attorney’s Office announced that today in federal court, Senior United States District Judge Malcolm J. Howard sentenced ERNEST TULSIDA CARPENTER, 44, of Fayetteville to 190 months imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release.

On December 9, 2014, CARPENTER was armed with a semi-automatic handgun when he entered Moe’s Southwest Grill at 201 N. McPherson Street in Fayetteville, North Carolina, as an employee was taking the trash out.  CARPENTER, who wore a black mask to conceal his face, approached the employee and demanded money from the safe. CARPENTER threatened that he would “shoot every employee in the business” if the safe was not opened.  At the time of the robbery, four employees and several customers were inside the restaurant. CARPENTER forced the employees, at gunpoint, to the rear of the building where the office was located.  After the manager opened the safe, the defendant leaned down to retrieve money and an employee lunged at CARPENTER. A struggle ensued and the defendant fired two rounds from his firearm.  One employee was shot in the foot and a second employee was shot in the abdomen.  During the struggle, the defendant’s ski mask was partially removed and CARPENTER’s face was exposed.  CARPENTER fled on foot, without taking any money, but was apprehended shortly after the robbery. Once detained, CARPENTER’s eye began to swell as a result of the struggle with the employee.

On May 9, 2016, CARPENTER pled guilty to the charges of Interference with Commerce by Robbery and Discharging of a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence.

This case was part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Fayetteville Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  Assistant United States Attorney Jane Jackson represented the government.

Updated September 15, 2016