You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Baltimore Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison After Being Convicted at Trial for Charges Related to the Attempted Armed Robbery of a Food Service Company Where an Employee Was Shot

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett today sentenced Alex Smith, a/k/a Skeet, age 34, of Halethorpe, Maryland, to 20 years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit a commercial robbery and for the attempted armed robbery of a food service business in Baltimore on December 5, 2018, during which an employee of the business was shot.  A federal jury convicted Smith on January 10, 2020, after a five-day trial.  

The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge Timothy Jones of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department; and Chief Amal Awad of the Anne Arundel County Police Department.

According to court documents and the evidence presented at Smith’s five-day trial, on December 5, 2018, Smith and co-defendant Cornell Slater committed an attempted armed robbery of a food service business, which was Slater’s former employer.  At approximately 3:22 a.m., Slater picked Smith up at his residence and the two traveled to the business.  At 4:30 a.m., four employees arrived for the morning shift to open the store.  Surveillance cameras show Smith and Slater waking across a parking lot in the direction of the employee entrance.  As employees entered the store, Smith and Slater trailed them through the open door, posing as employees.

As detailed in court documents and described during trial testimony, upon entering the building Slater confronted two victims outside of the manager’s office, pulling out a gun and shooting one of the victims in the face.  Slater then forced the other employee toward the direction of the cash room, where the safe was stored.  In the meantime, Smith entered the employee breakroom and confronted two other victims, brandishing a firearm while he ordered the victims to hand over their cell phones and get on the floor.  Once Slater and the victim reached the cash room, the victim quickly entered the room and shut the door behind him, knowing that the door would lock automatically.

Knowing that they had been locked out of the cash room, Smith and Slater fled to Slater’s vehicle and drove off.

As detailed in court documents, the conspirators drove to Slater’s home and Smith took a ride sharing service back to his house.  To conceal his participation in the robbery, Smith switched his phone number and deleted all of his text messages with Slater, including numerous communications before and after the robbery. Slater was subsequently arrested on December 18, 2018, outside of his residence in Odenton, Maryland.  The 9mm pistol used in the shooting at the restaurant supply company, as well as another shooting that Slater admitted to committing, was found under Slater’s bed, along with 10 rounds of 9mm ammunition. 

On the eve of trial, co-defendant Cornell Slater, a/k/a Chopper, age 34, of Odenton, Maryland,  pleaded guilty to his role in the robbery and to another shooting.  Judge Bennett sentenced Slater to 30 years in federal prison. 

This case was made possible by investigative leads generated from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).  NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms.  NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles.  For more information on NIBIN, visit https://www.atf.gov/firearms/national-integrated-ballistic-information-network-nibin.

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.  Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) 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.

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the ATF the Baltimore Police Department, and the Anne Arundel County Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney James G. Warwick, who prosecuted the case.

# # #

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4854
Updated June 15, 2021