For Immediate Release
Eupora Man Sentenced to Prison for Possessing and Discharging a Weapon at Eupora High School
OXFORD – A Eupora man has been sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison for his illegal possession and discharge of a weapon on the campus of Eupora High School in March of 2018. Nathaniel Cole Breazeale, 20, was sentenced Monday afternoon by Chief U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock to serve 71 months in prison stemming from his discharge of a pistol at Eupora High School during school hours on March 28, 2018. An announcement regarding Breazeale’s sentence was made by Dana Nichols, ATF New Orleans Field Division Special Agent in Charge and U.S. Attorney William C. Lamar.
Information presented as part of the case showed that shortly before school dismissal on March 28, 2018, Breazeale drove a motor bike onto the Eupora High School grounds where he drove erratically around the band practice field before pulling out a 9mm pistol, firing multiple shots at the school building, and driving away in the direction of the elementary school. Testimony revealed that at least one of the rounds fired by Breazeale struck a van, in which a parent sat waiting for her children. Students and parents who were outside the band hall waiting for dismissal ran for cover and the high school was placed on lockdown as a result of the incident. Meanwhile, as anxious parents waited, elementary school students who had already boarded school buses bound for the high school were required to remain on board the buses in the high school parking lot until the scene was secured and cleared by law enforcement. Local, state and federal officers and agents responded to the chaotic scene and collected a total of six 9mm shell casings from the scene.
In sentencing Breazeale to the seventy one month sentence along with three years of supervised release, Judge Sharion Aycock noted that the need to “protect the public” was a “major factor” in her decision to impose the six year sentence. Breazeale, who pled guilty to being a prohibited person, and specifically a habitual user of narcotics in possession of a firearm, faced a maximum of ten years in prison. Aycock ordered Breazeale to undergo drug treatment as a part of his supervised release and recommended that he receive treatment while incarcerated.
U.S. Attorney William C. Lamar emphasized the commitment of his office to hold accountable individuals who threaten the safety of the community and our schools through lawless and reckless acts. Lamar remarked, “We are committed to doing everything within our power to keep our schools and communities safe. The possession and discharge of a weapon on a school campus demonstrates an extreme and reckless disregard for the safety of students, teachers and parents. In the instant case, the individual discharging the gun was prohibited by law from even possessing a firearm or ammunition. We will continue to work diligently with our local, state and federal partners to enforce the federal firearms laws and to hold accountable those who use firearms to threaten the safety and well-being of our communities, and particularly our schools.”
“The outcome of this prosecution is sending a positive message to the community on ATF’s commitment to keep children, parents, and educators safe from firearms violence while at school,” said ATF New Orleans Field Division Special Agent in Charge Dana Nichols. “We will continue to investigate, identify, pursue and hold accountable those individuals who seek to violate the safety of our schools. These investigations are a priority for ATF.”
Multiple local, state and federal agencies participated in the investigation of this case, including the Eupora Police Department, Webster County Sheriff’s Office, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. ATF Supervisory Agent Joseph Frank of the Oxford Resident Office served as the case agent and the case was prosecuted by AUSA Susan Bradley.