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Press Release

Rochester Man Pleads Guilty To Robbery And Gun Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051
ROCHESTER, N.Y.-Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Johnny Blackshell, Jr., 23, Rochester, NY, pleaded guilty to Hobbs Act Robbery and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence before U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa.  The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of seven years in prison, a maximum of life and a $250,000 fine. 
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Douglas E. Gregory and Brett Harvey, who are handling the case, stated that on August 10, 2015, at approximately 3:20 a.m., Blackshell and co-defendant Joseph Lowry entered the 7-Eleven convenience store located on Lake Avenue in Rochester intending to rob both cash and goods. After entering the store, the defendant and Lowry jumped over the service desk and ordered the employees to the ground. Blackshell then pointed a silver handgun at the victim’s head and instructed the victim to open the cash register. Lowry took $80 in United States currency from the cash register. In addition to the money, Blachshell and Lowry took an unknown quantity of Newport Cigarettes, tobacco, chewing gum, and numerous rolls of New York State scratch-off lottery tickets. The two then left the store and ran eastbound towards Lake Avenue.  Several of the stolen lottery tickets were later redeemed, and attempted to be redeemed, as winners.  Blackshell received monies for the winning lottery tickets. 

Blackshell was previously sentenced in state court to life in prison without parole for the murders of Johnny Johnson, Raekwon Manigault, and Jonah Barley during a mass shooting outside the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester on August 19, 2015.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ashan Benedict, New York Field Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent–in-Charge Adam S. Cohen, and the  Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Ciminelli. 

Joseph Lowry was previously convicted and sentenced to 128 months in prison.

Sentencing is scheduled for February 6, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Siragusa.

Updated November 6, 2017