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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Man Involved in Nectar's Shooting Sentenced

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Rashad Nashid, age 39, was sentenced on February 10, 2020 to 150 months in jail by Judge William K. Sessions III in United States District Court in Burlington, Vermont.  Nashid had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.  Judge Sessions also imposed a three-year period of supervised release to be served after Nashid completes his jail sentence.

On February 26, 2018, at approximately 2:10 a.m., Rashad Nashid fired two bullets into a crowded street in front of Nectar’s bar in Burlington. One of the bullets struck a 27-year-old female bystander in the chest and the other bullet pierced a bedroom window of a nearby apartment. Nashid fled the scene on foot. Moments later, Burlington Police Department Sergeant Daniel Merchand encountered Nashid. Nashid reached toward the waistband of his pants for a gun. Fearing that he too would be shot, Sgt. Merchand ran for cover behind his cruiser, screamed at Nashid to put his hands up and told Nashid to get on the ground. Nashid complied and was arrested.  The female victim was rushed to the UVM Medical Center where she underwent multiple surgeries and remained hospitalized for almost three weeks. She has since recovered but still suffers physical and psychological effects from the shooting.

Investigation into the incident revealed that Nashid had eight prior felony convictions and was prohibited from possessing firearms.  The investigation also showed that the day before the shooting, Nashid was at a firing range in Chittenden County shooting an AR-15. 

During the sentencing, Judge Sessions ruled that Nashid’s actions of shooting the firearm into the crowd was reckless under the circumstances and manifested extreme indifference to the value of human life.  Judge Sessions also agreed that given the seriousness of the offense and the harm to the female victim and Sgt. Merchand, an upward variance from the applicable guideline range was warranted which resulted in a 150-month sentence.

The case resulted from the collaborative efforts of the Burlington Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.  Kelly D. Brady, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Boston Field Division, commented: “Today’s sentence is another example of ATF’s relentless effort to reduce violent crime and remove trigger-pullers from the streets of Burlington, Vermont. We will continue to aggressively work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and to keep all Vermont neighborhoods safe from violent gun crime.”

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. 

Assistant United States Attorney Wendy L. Fuller represented the government.  Nashid was represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Steven Barth.

U.S. Attorney Christina E. Nolan commended the collaborative investigation of state and federal law enforcement, stating, “this case exemplifies how we prioritize charging federal gun laws to make our communities safer. Convicted felons who possess guns pose extreme dangers to innocent, law abiding Vermonters, as this case demonstrates. The U.S. Attorney’s office will not tolerate this conduct and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring serious consequences to felons who flout federal gun laws.”

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Updated February 12, 2020