HOUSTON – A 35-year-old Houston man has been ordered to federal prison for carjacking and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. A federal jury sitting in Houston convicted Sean Rodriguez Sept. 26, 2018, after approximately three hours of deliberation following a three-day trial.
Today, Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal handed Rodriguez a 80-month sentence for the carjacking. He also received an additional 10 years for the firearms charge which must be served consecutively to the other sentence imposed. The sentences will be immediately followed by two years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, the court noted that this was a serious and dangerous crime and that the defendant was lucky that no one was injured or killed during the crime or his flight.
During the trial, the jury heard from victims who were carjacked at gunpoint. Both described how Rodriguez brandished a silver revolver and pointed it at them. Rodriguez had pistol-whipped the male victim, at which time the gun discharged above the man’s head.
A neighbor also provided testimony who explained how she helped the female victim after she ran to her house to call 911. The jury also heard that call.
The jury also heard from four police officers were involved in a high-speed chase after Rodriguez refused to pull over in the stolen vehicle three days later. The jury saw a helicopter video of the chase and the dash cam of one of the officers. During the chase, Rodriguez went the wrong way down streets at high rates of speed, nearly hit pedestrians and other vehicles before crashing into a family of six.
He has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The FBI, Texas Department of Public Safety, Houston Police Department, Harris County Institute of Forensic Science and Harris County Sherriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennie Basile and Britni Cooper are prosecuting the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.