By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MAN was sentenced to eight years imprisonment yesterday when he owned up to shooting at a police officer more than a decade after the incident occurred.
Tarino Moss, 34, appeared before Acting Chief Justice Stephen Isaacs for a status hearing concerning his trial on two firearm charges; possession of firearm with intent to endanger life and possession of the same with intent to prevent lawful arrest. The crimes were committed on June 2, 2005.
Moss told the judge and prosecutor Kendra Kelly yesterday that he did not want to have the matter hanging over his head any longer as he was already serving a prison sentence that has him incarcerated at the Department of Correctional Services until 2022.
In 2013, Moss had pleaded guilty to causing a high-speed chase with police in Freeport in which he hit and dragged a pedestrian 80 feet before stopping the car and shooting at police on August 5, 2008. He was sentenced to eight years and seven months in jail.
The charges concerning yesterday’s hearing were re-read to the accused, who kept his word and pleaded guilty to the crimes.
Ms Kelly told the judge that on June 2, 2005, around 7pm, police were driving north on East Street when they saw Moss, who was being sought by the authorities for questioning for armed robbery.
Moss came off the main road and officers observed him crouching beside a vehicle. When Constable 1198 Cox started to get out of the car, Moss pulled out a handgun and discharged several shots in his direction.
Constable Cox was hit in the right arm and thigh and had to be treated for his injuries.
“Although the Crown acknowledges his guilty plea, it has taken him 10 years to do so,” Ms Kelly said. “As he is charged with possession of firearm with intent to endanger life and possession of the same with intent to prevent lawful arrest, both offences carry up to 14 years imprisonment. In the circumstances, the Crown would recommend that a sentence of eight to 10 years be imposed,” the prosecutor added.
“If a police officer was shot, why was there not a charge of attempted murder?” the Acting Chief Justice asked.
“I thought the same but I do not know. This is the indictment we found,” Ms Kelly said.
When asked by the judge if he agreed with the brief facts mentioned by the prosecutor, Moss said he did.
“When I did get arraigned, I was going to change my plea from long time, but this is my first time coming back to court concerning this matter,” Moss said.
“So you accept that you shot a police officer?” the judge asked. “Yes, sir,” Moss replied.
“I don’t know what possessed you to shoot a police officer,” the judge told the convict.
“I was young and ignorant at the time, more younger than I am now,” Moss said.
The judge sentenced Moss to eight years on each count to run concurrently from September 15.