For Immediate Release
Burlington man pleads guilty to firearm charge related to Nectar's shooting
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Rashad Nashid, 38, of Burlington, Vermont, appeared in federal district court in Burlington yesterday and pleaded guilty to an Information charging Nashid with two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms. One of the firearm charges was related to the shooting that occurred outside of Nectar’s Bar on February 26, 2018, that left an innocent bystander seriously injured. The other firearm charge related to Nashid’s possession of an AR15 style rifle the day before the shooting. District Court Judge William K. Sessions III accepted Nashid’s plea but deferred acceptance of the plea agreement. Nashid’s sentencing is currently set for December 2, 2019 in Burlington.
According to court records, in the early morning hours of February 26, 2018, a female bystander was shot in the chest while standing on the sidewalk in the area of Nectars and Esox on Main Street in Burlington, VT. Moments after the shooting, a Burlington Police Officer was driving in the area when he observed a male, later identified as Rashad Nashid, walking hurriedly northbound on South Winooski Avenue. The BPD officer made contact with Nashid a short time later. During that interaction, the officer observed the butt end of a black handgun in Nashid’s waistband. The officer ordered Nashid to "to put it down" and quickly retreated behind his cruiser for cover. Nashid then placed the handgun on the hood of the officer’s cruiser. During Nashid’s arrest, he told officers: "they was shooting at me, so I shot back." In a later post-arrest statement, Nashid admitted that he was the person who shot outside of Nectars, but he said he did not intend to hurt anyone.
After the shooting, agents investigating the case found a Facebook video of Nashid firing an AR15 type rifle. Agents later spoke to witnesses who were with Nashid during this incident and witnesses told law enforcement that the video had been taken during the day on February 25, 2018, at a firing range in Charlotte. Agents later identified the rifle as a Mega model Gator multi caliber AR15 style rile.
Nashid has seven prior felony convictions in New Jersey, including multiple felony controlled substance offenses, theft, and assault. At the time of the shooting, Nashid was on conditions of release in Vermont for a felony cocaine offense.
Each charge to which Nashid pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, for a total maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment. According to the plea agreement filed in the case, the parties agree that the district court should impose a sentence of not less than 11 years and not more than 15 years. If the district court agrees to sentence Nashid within that range (11 to 15 years), the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office has agreed to dismiss its pending charges against Nashid.
United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan commended the collaborative investigation by ATF and the Burlington Police Department. She stated: "This case highlights the grave risks associated with convicted felons unlawfully possessing firearms. Vermont law enforcement will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute federal firearms cases to improve safety and quality of life for Vermonters. And extreme recidivist offenders should take notice that we will seek serious terms of imprisonment."
"ATF's top priority is to aggressively respond to firearm-related violent crime and, in collaboration with our law enforcement partners, help keep our communities safe," said Acting Special Agent in Charge Lawrence J. Panetta of the ATF Boston Field Division. "Together with this seamless integration of local, state, and federal law enforcement, we will continue our efforts to remove these violent individuals who illegally use and possess firearms from our streets."
Jannine Wright, Acting Burlington Chief of Police stated, "Criminally discharging a firearm in downtown Burlington is unacceptable, and our department's promise to our neighbors is that we will do everything in our legal power to hold people who hurt and endanger others accountable. We are gratified by the extraordinary efforts of the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont to obtain this outcome. For the foreseeable future, Mr. Nashid will no longer be a danger to our community."
The United States is represented in this matter by Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy L. Fuller. Rashad Nashid is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Steven Barth.