Man sentenced in gunfire incident

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BRATTLEBORO — A man who was shot at twice on Elliot Street on July 29, 2019, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison on Monday.

According to court documents, Pedro Ocasio, then 19, allegedly took a shot at Michael Samuels, 29, in front of the Elliot Street Apartments with a .22 caliber handgun. At the time, Samuels and two women were standing at the bus stop. Ocasio fled the scene when Samuels brandished a handgun. When police arrived, Samuels also fled the scene. He was eventually found under the Elliot Street Bridge. Nearby, officers found a 9mm handgun with an "obliterated"

serial number.

Samuels pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. His 16-month sentence includes the 10 months he has served while in detention. When he is released, he will be subject to three years of supervision.

According to court documents, Samuels had been convicted of two counts of selling a controlled substance in 2014 in Connecticut. He also has prior felony convictions in Connecticut for burglary and forgery.

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"This case underscores the grave risks that arise when felons unlawfully possess firearms," said Christina Nolan, U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont. "Samuels' conduct put the community and brave police officers in danger. We will continue to charge federal gun crimes to promote peace and safety in communities across Vermont, including in the Brattleboro area."

Ocasio, also known as Pluto and Boobie, was taken into custody on Aug. 5, 2019, and was being held at Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield on charges of attempted second degree murder until May 18, when he was taken into federal custody. He is scheduled to appear in court in September to plead guilty to one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Ocasio's state charges are pending.

Bob Audette can be contacted

at raudette@reformer.com.


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