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Justice News

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

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Final Defendant Sentenced for Violent Grocery Store Robbery Spree

NORFOLK, Va. – A Chesapeake man was sentenced today to 130 months in prison for his role in the armed robbery of a local grocery store.

“No one buying groceries or simply doing their job at a grocery store should face this kind of horrific violence,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “These crimes struck close to home, and the significant sentences handed down show that armed robbers who bring guns into places of business in Hampton Roads can expect to spend years in jail for that decision.”

According to court documents, Brennan K. Smith, 23, entered a Virginia Beach Harris Teeter store, identified the manager to two gunmen waiting outside, and gave them the go-ahead to enter the store and commit the robbery, during which one of the gunmen shot the manager when he did not immediately open the store’s safe. Smith also purchased firearms for members of the conspiracy, including for several who were legally barred from purchasing handguns for themselves.

Smith was part of a 10-person robbery crew that worked in at least six-man teams, including inside and outside look-outs, getaway drivers, and multiple gunmen. The robbery crew used police scanners to monitor law enforcement activity and earpieces to communicate with one another. The gunmen were in and out of the stores within minutes. Investigators were able to link most of the co-conspirators to a group of friends who attended Tallwood High School and lived in the College Park neighborhood of Virginia Beach.

Smith previously had pleaded guilty to conspiracy, robbery, and aiding and abetting the discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a robbery. He and the co-conspirators who were sentenced earlier this year have received a combined 130 years in prison for their roles in the crimes.




Trevor Tisdale

Getaway driver at two robberies

100 months

Quayshawn Davidson

Gunman at one robbery (brandished)

108 months

Keonte Yorkshire

Outside lookout at two robberies; inside lookout at one robbery


150 months

Brandon Tisdale

Participated in all three robberies; outside lookout and getaway driver

154 months

Devonta Doyle

Participated in all three robberies; gunman at two robberies; discharged weapon at last robbery

212 months

Cato Battle

Participated in two robberies; gunman at one robbery

115 months

Monica Perkins

Inside lookout at one robbery

108 months

Willey Brooks

Supervisory role; inside lookout at one robbery.

216 months

Darrius Heuser-Whitaker

Gunman at two robberies

288 months

Brennan K. Smith

Inside lookout at one robbery

130 months


This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Mark Herring, Attorney General of Virginia, Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, James A. Cervera, Chief of Virginia Beach Police, and Col. K.L. Wright, Chief of Chesapeake Police, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John F. Butler and Andrew Bosse, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristin G. Bird prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:18-cr-177.

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Joshua Stueve Director of Public Affairs
Updated November 13, 2019