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Press Release

Goldsboro Man Sentenced to More Than 21 Years for Hobbs Act Robbery and Gun Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

NEW BERN – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announced that today, DEVON WATERS, 38, of Goldsboro, was sentenced by United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan to 261 months’ imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release.

WATERS was named in a three-count indictment on March 7, 2017.  On November 14, 2017, WATERS pled guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Interference with Commerce by Robbery and Discharging a Firearm during and in relation to a Crime of Violence and Aiding and Abetting.

On May 9, 2016, WATERS and codefendant O’Brien Shaquille Hooker, who pled guilty and was previously sentenced to 166 months of imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release, committed an armed robbery at a Family Dollar located in Goldsboro, North Carolina.  The men forced two employees, who were closing the business, into the store at gunpoint.  Hooker brandished a firearm and ordered the employees onto the floor.  WATERS then ordered one of them to open the safe.  When she had difficulty, WATERS took the firearm from Hooker, fired a shot at her feet, and threatened to kill her.  WATERS and Hooker stole currency totaling $800 and cigarettes.  Seeing a Goldsboro Police Department (GPD) vehicle pull into the parking lot, the defendants forced an employee at gunpoint to the rear of the business, where they exited.  As they fled, they fired additional shots at the pursuing officer.

WATERS and Hooker fled the scene in a vehicle driven by a third person. The vehicle drove to a residential neighborhood, where WATERS and Hooker jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot. A GPD Officer with the K9 unit found and arrested them in a nearby backyard.

Mr. Higdon commented: “Today the Court imposed a sentence of more than 20 years on an offender who thought so little of human life that he shot at an innocent store clerk and at members of our law enforcement community over $800 and some cigarettes.  This sentence should be a warning to those who would commit violent acts that we will pursue you and we will see you removed from the communities you are victimizing and terrorizing.  We will ‘Take Back North Carolina’ from the violent criminals.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

In support of PSN, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina has implemented the Take Back North Carolina Initiative.  This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement. 

The case was investigated by the Goldsboro Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). 

Updated May 24, 2018

Project Safe Neighborhoods