Scales of Justice

A Janesville man who is classified as an armed career criminal has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for firing a gun outside a gas station in August of 2018.

Royal Powell, 36, was sentenced by US District Judge William Conley in federal court in Madison on Monday.

Powell pleaded guilty in March to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to a news release from the US Attorney's Office, Powell came out of a BP gas station in Janesville on Aug. 17, 2018, and fired a gun at a group of people standing a short distance away.

"In response to the gunfire, someone shot back at Powell and the bullet went into the gas station and nearly struck a woman and her small children standing inside," the release said.

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Powell fled but was identified using surveillance video and was arrested a few weeks later, with the firearm found in his apartment.

Powell was convicted of felonies both in Wisconsin and Illinois, so he's prohibited from having a firearm.

The mandatory minimum sentence for that crime, if the defendant is considered an armed career criminal, is 15 years. The sentence is to be followed by four years of supervised release.

Conley said at sentencing that Powell's decision to shoot a firearm at the gas station "needlessly endangered innocent lives."

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