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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Second EZ Mart Shooter Pleads Guilty

Second Shooter From Southside Richmond Convenience Store Convicted of Illegally Possessing a Firearm and Drug Trafficking

 

RICHMOND, Va. – William Bell, 30, of Richmond, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in connection with a June 12, 2014 shootout at the EZ Mart convenience store and to possession with the intent to distribute cocaine base related to a September 22, 2014, vehicular pursuit with the Virginia State Police.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Charles E. Smith, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Washington Field Division, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge M. Hannah Lauck.

A federal grand jury indicted Bell on February 3, 2015.  He faces maximum sentences of 10 years in prison on the firearm charge and 20 years on the drug charge when he is sentenced on June 29, 2015.  The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Bell admitted that on June 12, 2014, a masked gunman later identified as DeAndre Yellardy fired multiple shots into a vehicle occupied by Bell in the parking lot of the South Richmond EZ Mart convenience store.  Both Bell and his passenger were wounded.  Bell returned fire with a .40 caliber pistol, but failed to hit Yellardy.  Bell also admitted in his statement of facts that on September 22, 2014, he refused to stop for a Virginia State Police Trooper in Richmond related to a traffic offense.  During the ensuing pursuit, Bell threw the .40 caliber pistol and approximately 13 grams of cocaine base from his vehicle.  The firearm and cocaine were later recovered.  Shell casings from the EZ Mart shooting scene were later matched to the gun recovered from Bell.  At the time of both incidents, Bell was a convicted felon, and, as a result, was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearm, and Explosives, the Virginia State Police, and the Richmond Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik S. Siebert is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:15-cr-20.

Updated March 31, 2015