For Immediate Release
Columbus Man Pleads Guilty to Crimes Related to Armed Robberies, I-70 Shootout
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Columbus man pleaded guilty in federal court here today to crimes related to the July 6 shooting of a Columbus police officer. Parties involved have recommended a sentence of 20 to 30 years in prison.
Faisal M. Darod, 23, pleaded guilty to all nine counts charged against him in a superseding indictment that was returned in September 2023. The crimes include aiding and abetting robberies and aiding and abetting the use of a firearm during the robberies.
His co-defendant, Aden Abdullahi Jama, 20, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Oct. 11.
The two central Ohio men were involved in the July 6 shooting of a Columbus police officer. Jama admitted in court today to participating in related crimes on July 5 and July 6.
According to his plea agreement, on June 21, Darod aided in the robbery of a GameStop store on Hilliard-Rome Road in Hilliard. Darod and another man initially planned to rob a bank that day, but mistakenly thought the bank would be open until 6pm. When they realized the bank was closed, they shifted focus to the GameStop instead, and, at approximately 6:15pm, robbed the store at gunpoint using a handgun with an extended magazine.
Darod helped the other man obtain the firearm, extended magazine and ammunition, and served as a lookout during the robbery.
On July 3, Darod drove the other man to the Auto Gallery on Westerville Road in Minerva Park, where the man robbed the car dealership owner at gunpoint. The man stole a 2016 Corvette Stingray. Over the next two days, Darod had others record several videos of him driving the Corvette around the parking lot of the Baymont Inn and Suites at Morse Road, where he had rented a room.
On July 5, Darod arranged for Jama to pick up him and another individual after they robbed at gunpoint the Fifth Third Bank on Fishinger Road in Upper Arlington. Following the bank robbery, Darod texted Jama and instructed him to meet up with them on West Sixth Avenue in Columbus and drive them to the Baymont Inn and Suites.
While at the hotel, Darod and Jama recorded a video on Darod’s cell phone showing Darod lying on the bed surrounded by the recently stolen cash. In the video, Darod raps about “cheese” – i.e., money, being in the air and everywhere.
The next day, on July 6, Darod aided and abetted an armed robbery at Byers Imports in Whitehall. He and Jama drove a third individual to the car dealership to commit the robbery.
Shortly after the robbery, Darod and Jama met up with the car thief at townhomes on the southeast side of Columbus. The three men then drove the stolen Porsche Cayenne, sometimes exceeding 100 miles per hour, to Hilliard to commit another armed bank robbery.
Darod and Jama again served as the lookout and aided and abetted the armed robbery and the use of a firearm during that robbery at Fifth Third Bank on Hilliard-Rome Road in Hilliard.
Unbeknownst to the three men, Whitehall police detectives had been tracking their movements using the Porsche Cayenne’s onboard GPS system. The detectives surrounded the stolen car at Fifth Third Bank and ordered the men to stop the vehicle. The now-deceased driver drove the stolen Porsche through a gap in the detectives’ cars and fled over a grass embankment onto Hilliard-Rome Road, and, eventually, out to Roberts Road and the freeway.
Columbus police officers then located the stolen vehicle on I-70 traveling eastbound. The men reached speeds more than 125 miles per hour near rush hour while attempting to flee law enforcement.
The vehicle became damaged and came to an abrupt stop before Darod and Jama both fled on foot. The third man used a handgun with an extended magazine to ambush the responding officers. He opened fire from close range and struck one officer. That officer suffered life-threatening injuries. The driver of the stolen vehicle was struck several times and died of his gunshot wounds soon after.
Following the gun battle on I-70, a coordinated manhunt ensued for Jama and Darod. Darod was arrested in Columbus on the evening of July 7. By then, he had conducted several internet searches for flights out of Columbus to Somalia. U.S. Marshals and Homeland Security Investigation agents arrested Jama at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on July 8, bound for Turkey, with an ultimate destination of Somalia.
Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Daryl S. McCormick, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant; the United States Marshals in Columbus and Chicago; ICE and HSI Chicago; the Whitehall, Minerva Park and Upper Arlington police departments and Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin announced the guilty plea entered this afternoon before U.S. District Judge Sarah D. Morrison. Assistant United States Attorney Noah R. Litton is representing the United States in this case.