Georgia man gets 7 years in prison for illegally possessing firearms after shooting at family member on Cobb County street

Rico Laprince Southall has been sentenced for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon following an incident where he was arrested after firing multiple gunshots at a family member on a public road in Cobb County.

Southall’s gunfire also struck another motorist’s vehicle.

“Southall’s illegal possession and dangerous use of these weapons are serious crimes that show how gun violence is a risk to all of us,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “Keeping firearms out of the hands of convicted felons and individuals with violent criminal histories is essential to protecting the citizens of the district and reducing gun violence. Fortunately, no one was injured or killed because of this defendant’s egregious disregard for the safety of our community.”

According to the charges, and other information presented in court, on April 1, 2021, Southall targeted the victim — a member of his own family — as she drove in Powder Springs. Southall pursued the victim’s vehicle through the residential area and fired multiple rounds at her vehicle, all while he and the victim were traveling on a public road.

Several rounds struck the victim’s vehicle and entered the passenger compartment of the vehicle, with at least one round striking an unoccupied infant safety seat.

Southall also struck another motorist’s vehicle.

When Cobb County Police Department officers arrested Southall, he possessed a weapon equipped with an extended magazine and a revolver that was reported stolen out of Pennsylvania.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives adopted the case and presented it to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for federal prosecution. Southall’s Cobb County charges are pending.

“ATF will continue to work alongside our Federal, State and local partners in furtherance of reducing violent crime ,” said ATF Atlanta Field Division Special Agent in Charge Ben Gibbons.

Southall pleaded guilty on April 13.

On July 13, Judge Eleanor L. Ross sentenced Southall to seven years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. 

“The Cobb County Police Department is exceptionally proud of the actions of the officers, detectives, and civilian staff who were involved in this case and countless other cases like this. The sacrifice these men and women make each time they place the badge and vest on to protect the people of Cobb County is a testament to their character, selflessness, and bravery. The impact of their actions is simply impossible to measure. Through the continued work of seizing illegal guns and removing very violent offenders from our streets, far fewer of our Cobb County community members are shot, killed, and maimed. We are thankful for the continued strong support from Project Safe Neighborhoods, the ATF, and our other federal partners, and we’re equally grateful for the dedication of our local officers, detectives, and civilians here in Cobb County,” said Cobb County Police Chief Stuart VanHoozer.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman L. Barnett prosecuted the case. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney D’Juan Jones was the initial prosecutor for this case.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Cobb County Police Department investigated the case.


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