Las Vegas Man Sentenced To 23 Years In Prison For Committing Two Armed Carjackings, Shooting At Police During Car Pursuit, And Assaulting A Federal Corrections Officer
LAS VEGAS – A Las Vegas man was sentenced today by United States District Judge Gloria M. Navarro to 23 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for two carjackings during which he brandished a firearm and shot at one victim, shooting at police officers during the vehicle pursuit, and for assaulting a federal officer while in custody.
Justin Venegas (41) pleaded guilty to two counts of carjacking, one count of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, one count of felon in possession of a firearm, and one count of assault on a federal officer which inflicts bodily injury.
According to court documents, on August 11, 2022, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (“LVMPD”) was pursuing Venegas for a robbery/carjacking that occurred on May 20, 2022. While at an intersection, Venegas pointed a firearm at the driver of another vehicle and to into the vehicle. He then put the firearm into the victim’s stomach and forcibly removed the victim from their vehicle. Venegas drove away in the victim’s vehicle. During the pursuit, Venegas reached out the driver’s window and fired several rounds at the front windshield of the pursuing officers’ patrol vehicle. Later, Venegas attempted to carjack a second victim. He shot at and struck the second carjacking victim using a firearm. While the pursuit continued, Venegas collided head on with a K9 police vehicle. He was placed under arrest. A search of the vehicle revealed a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield with an obliterated serial number. A National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) analysis showed that the firearm was the same gun that was discharged during the pursuit and at a police officer. Venegas is a convicted felon, and he is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm.
Later, on October 1, 2022, at the Nevada Southern Detention Center, Venegas punched a detention officer in the face causing the officer to fall to the ground. The detention officer suffered facial fractures, lacerations, and a dislocated thumb.
“The defendant will spend the next 23 years in prison for putting the public and police officers in danger with his senseless, violent actions in his attempt to evade apprehension, and for assaulting a detention officer while in custody,” said United States Attorney Jason M. Frierson for the District of Nevada. “In this case, NIBIN crime gun tracing connected the gun used in the first and second carjackings by the defendant. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to combine resources to protect our communities and to bring violent offenders to justice.”
“The defendants’ sentence should serve as a deterrent to anyone who is considering terrorizing the safety and security of our community by committing armed carjackings,” said Special Agent in Charge Spencer L. Evans for the FBI. “The sentence also reflects the severity of the crime and the commitment of the FBI, along with our federal, state, and local partners, to reduce the potential of future carjacking offenses, a major driver of violent crimes.”
This case was investigated by the FBI and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Allison Reese prosecuted the case.