DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida

For Immediate Release

Monday, November 2, 2020
Maria Chapa Lopez
, United States Attorney

Armed Robber Arrested in Tennessee

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the unsealing of a criminal complaint charging Shawn O’Neil Smith (22, Zephyrhills) with robbery. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

According to the complaint, on October 10, 2020, Smith, armed with a handgun, robbed the Shell gas station located at 4330 Lithia Pinecrest Road in Valrico. Smith threatened an employee with the handgun and also discharged the firearm during the robbery.

The joint efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office led to Smith’s identification and his apprehension in Tennessee. Smith appeared in federal court in Nashville, Tennessee on October 29, 2020, and was ordered detained pending his removal to Tampa.

A complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by ATF and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jim Preston.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence and enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes. For more information on Project Guardian visit


Tampa Field Division