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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

Friday, November 8, 2013

Violent Felon Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Attempted Assault on Federal Officer

Sentence Will Run Concurrent To 20 Year State Sentence For Armed Robbery

            A repeat offender who attempted to shoot a U.S. Marshal while handcuffed, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 15 years in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  JOSEPH ROBERT SMITH, 41, was arrested by the U.S. Marshal Service Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force on October 23, 2012.  In the course of the arrest, SMITH attempted to use a handgun he had hidden in his waistband to shoot one of the federal officers on the arrest team.  U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan imposed the sentence which will run concurrent with a 249 month sentencing in state court for four armed robberies.

            According to records filed in the case, SMITH was wanted on a warrant issued by the Department of Corrections for escape.  SMITH was located in Tacoma and was taken into custody after a short foot chase by officers.  SMITH was briefly patted down and handcuffed, with the plan to do a more thorough search after taking him to a more secure area.  As the officers were leading him out of the area where he was apprehended, SMITH brought his hands around from behind his back and attempted to grab the butt of a gun that was concealed in his waistband.  SMITH had the gun pointed at the leg of the Deputy Marshal escorting him and was attempting to chamber a round when the Deputy Marshal knocked the gun to the ground.

            Since 1989, SMITH has multiple felony convictions including burglary, robbery, escape, assaults, eluding, and domestic violence.

                The case was investigated by the U.S. Marshal Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg.
Updated March 23, 2015