On Friday, United States District Judge Lee P. Rudofsky handed down the maximum sentence of 120 months in federal prison to a Paragould, Arkansas, man who admitted to firing at police officers.
Harris was charged with battery in the first degree, theft by receiving, aggravated assault, obstructing governmental operations, and fleeing.
Paragould police officers saw 23-year-old Taj Harris on February 7, 2021, near Walnut Street and Second Street. The police were aware that Harris was already wanted for arrest. Harris pulled out a gun and started firing at the police as he tried to arrest him, causing the officer to duck for cover. A second police officer saw Harris fire at the first officer, causing the latter to fall in fear.
Harris shot back at the second officer, who he believed had been struck by the first officer’s gunfire.
Harris ran away, and the police gave chase on foot. Harris was arrested when a bystander threatened him with a golf club and pinned him between a home and a fence, and flagged down the officers.
The officers discovered a large-capacity magazine for a stolen handgun close to Harris’ feet. The next day, while in the Greene County Jail, Harris spoke to his mother on the phone and acknowledged that he had fired shots at police and would have shot them again if they attempted to apprehend him.
Harris was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 6, 2021, for the crime of “felon in possession of a firearm,” which carries a maximum sentence of 120 months in prison.
On November 15th, 2022, Harris entered a guilty plea. Harris was sentenced to 10 years in jail, followed by three years of supervised release. In the federal system, there is no provision for parole.
Assistant Attorney J. William Crow represented the United States.