For Immediate Release
Carjacker Who Shot Lakeland Police Officer Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington today sentenced Terrese Colston (29, Polk County) to 30 years in federal prison for carjacking, brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and possessing a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon. The sentence consists of 15 years’ imprisonment on the carjacking charge, 15 years’ imprisonment (consecutive) on the firearm brandishing charge, and 10 years’ imprisonment (concurrent) on the felon-in-possession charge.
According to court documents and evidence presented at sentencing, on July 11, 2018, the victim was in his parked car on East Lemon Street, Lakeland when Colston approached the driver’s side window, pointed a loaded revolver at the victim, and told him to get out of the car. The victim was in fear for his life and complied. Colston then got into the victim’s car and drove away. A few hours later, a Lakeland police officer spotted the stolen Mazda and attempted to pull it over. Colston crashed the car and fled on foot. When the officer finally caught up to Colston and attempted to stop him using a Tazer, Colston turned around and shot the officer in the face. The officer survived and returned fire, striking Colston in the leg. Other officers arrived and took Colston into custody.
United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez said, “My Office backs our men and women in blue. The prosecution of all violent crime, including against law enforcement officers, is a top priority for me.”
“This sentencing should send a strong message that violence against law enforcement who are working to serve and protect communities will not be tolerated,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Daryl McCrary. “Our strong partnerships continue to reduce violent firearms crime and mitigate dangerous individuals from committing further acts of violence.”
Lakeland Police Chief Ruben Garcia said, “the members of the Lakeland Police Department are grateful to our federal law enforcement partners at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the successful prosecution of this case and the incarceration of a violent felon to safeguard the citizens of our community.”
This case was brought in furtherance of the President’s February 9, 2017 Executive Order on Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers (EO). The EO established that it is the policy of the executive branch to enhance the protection and safety of federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement officers, and thereby all Americans.
This case was also brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. In the Middle District of Florida, U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Lakeland Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher F. Murray.