Chicago Gang Member Gets 16 Years in ATF Agent's Shooting

Ernesto Godinez mistook agent Kevin Crump as a rival street gang member, federal prosecutors said

A Chicago gang member was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison Wednesday in the shooting of a U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent in May 2018.

Ernesto Godinez was sentenced to 200 months in prison follow by five years of supervised release, a sentence the judge said was "not excessive but not too low that it's a slap on the hand." 

Godinez was found guilty of the shooting in June. Federal prosecutors said he mistook agent Kevin Crump as a rival street gang member. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kavitha Babu said surveillance video showed 29-year-old Godinez leaving his home minutes before the attack. She said Godinez later fired five rounds from a gangway and ran back to his home. Godinez was arrested three days after the shooting.

In a statement to the judge before his sentencing, an emotional Godinez apologized, saying he loved his family and wants to "lead them in the right path." 

Crump, who previously testified he has a titanium plate in his face because the bullet pierced the side of his neck and came out between his eyes, argued Wednesday that if given a shorter sentence, he feared Godinez will "go back to commit crimes."

"He has not learned from his prior convictions," Crump said. "I urge your honor to max sentence." 

Defense attorneys said during his trial that while Godinez is in a gang, no direct evidence linked him to the agent's shooting.

Attorneys said Crump and other agents were installing tracking devices on cars belonging to suspected gang members when he was shot in the face.

Prosecutors asked the jury to look at a timeline built from video tape and shot-spotter audio that they said makes it clear that Godinez was the shooter."Just stop and think. The defendant is running. It’s 3:15 in the morning. He’s not exercising," federal prosecutor Nicholas Eichenseer told the jury.

Eichenseer said Godinez told a friend after the shooting that he felt good he had shot what he thought was a rival gang member.

But the attorney for Godinez insisted there was reasonable doubt because the gun used in the crime had not been recovered.

Copyright Associated Press/NBC Chicago
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