Orangeburg and Columbia Men Who Shot Towards Police Sentenced to Federal Prison
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA — Two felons who shot towards, police – Phillip Michael King, 35, of Barnwell, and Anthony Lafayette Legette, a/k/a “Amp Legette,” 37, of Columbia – were collectively sentenced to nearly 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to federal firearms violations.
“As recent events in our state have shown us, law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe,” said U.S. Attorney Corey F. Ellis. “We will not tolerate violence against the police in South Carolina, and I want to thank the law enforcement agencies that responded and prioritized these cases.”
“Violent individuals in possession of firearms illegally are a threat to our communities and a threat to the brave men and women working to keep our streets safe,” said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Acting Special Agent in Charge Brian Mein. “ATF is proud to join our local, state, and federal partners in bringing these individuals to justice.”
"These cases are examples of how local law enforcement work in partnership with our federal law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney to arrest and prosecute prolific violent offenders,” said Columbia Chief of Police W. H. “Skip” Holbrook. “Cases like these remove the ‘trigger pullers’ from neighborhoods in our cities."
King pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition – his second such conviction in federal court. Evidence presented in court showed that on September 22, 2018, an officer with the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety attempted a traffic stop near downtown Orangeburg because the vehicle was reported as stolen. The vehicle failed to stop for blue lights, sirens, or marked patrol cars, and took the police on a car chase through the city. King leaned out of the rear passenger window during the pursuit and discharged two rounds from a pistol in the direction of the police car behind him. The vehicles came to a stop and King fled on foot. A loaded 9mm Smith & Wesson pistol was recovered in the path of King’s flight on foot. King later confessed to the shooting and to hoping that during it he would be shot and killed by the police. Shell casings collected from the area of the shooting were forensically matched by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to the firearm recovered, and ATF determined the firearm was stolen.
Legette also pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Evidence presented in court showed that on November 3, 2017, Legette was driving under the influence when he was in a car accident with an off-duty Columbia Police Department officer near downtown Columbia. When the vehicles came to a stop, the off-duty officer approached Legette, identified himself as an officer with the Columbia Police Department, and showed his law enforcement credentials. Legette then failed to follow commands and appeared to reach for a firearm. The off-duty officer brandished his service weapon, and Legette fled the scene in his vehicle to an apartment complex in Columbia. Legette walked inside, retrieved a pistol, told a resident that an officer was following him, came outside and announced, “there goes that [explicative] right there.” Legette pointed his firearm in the air in the direction of the officer and discharged one round. Law enforcement obtained a search warrant for the residence, recovered a loaded Cobra Industries, .38 caliber Derringer pistol with one spent casing inside the revolver. Legette later admitted to the shooting.
King was prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition based on numerous prior felony convictions, including assault with intent to kill in an incident related to a prior shooting, arson, and a federal felon in possession of a firearm conviction. King’s convictions began in 2003 and they also include unlawful carrying of a pistol, simple assault and battery, and failure to stop for blue lights.
Legette was prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition based on numerous prior felony convictions, including assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature in a matter related to an assault that was a part of a gang ritual, possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, and assault and battery 2nd degree. Legette’s convictions began in 2002 and they also include driving under the influence, drunkenness, drug possession, simple assault and battery, and failure to comply with a police command.
Senior United States District Court Judge Terry L. Wooten sentenced King to a total of 114 months in federal prison. Senior United States District Court Judge Cameron McGowan Currie sentenced Legette to 63 months in federal prison. Both sentences will be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision, and there is no parole in the federal system.
King’s case was made possible by investigative leads generated from the ATF’s 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.
Both cases were prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, 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.
The cases were investigated by the ATF, SLED, Orangeburg Department of Public Safety, and Columbia Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Elliott B. Daniels prosecuted the cases.
Derek A. Shoemake (843) 813-0982
Updated April 27, 2022
Project Safe Neighborhoods