Liberian man sentenced in shooting

He gets 7 years for gang-related violence that wounded man, girl

November 9, 2012

A Liberian national, who became a father and turned 22 this week, was sentenced Thursday to seven years in prison for a gang-related shooting in Spokane that left a 6-year-old girl wounded.

In addition, Abubakar Samura will face certain deportation as soon as he is released, authorities said. He pleaded guilty late last month to two counts of second-degree assault stemming from the March 4 shooting that also injured Matthew W. Woods, who was 23 at the time.

“It amazes me that he is capable of this,” defense attorney Christian Phelps said. “It does not match his personality or disposition.”

Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza struggled to make sense of Samura’s actions.

“Mr. Samura, certainly you got yourself in a terrible … stupid situation. A long line of innocent people will suffer for the decision you made,” Cozza said. “I just have to shake my head. It’s one more example of the kind of damage people cause when they get involved in gangs. There is no sense to it.”

Spokane police said that Woods was at home with a friend when someone from a nearby home in the 300 block of South Pittsburg Street started yelling derogatory comments about Woods’ gang.

The yelling led to a confrontation in which Samura shot Woods in the legs and back. Samura fired several more times as Woods ran and one of those bullets tore through a wall and struck a 6-year-old girl in the foot.

Phelps said Samura could have fled the country, but instead turned himself in to police. Samura had been caring for both of his ailing parents, for whom he also served as a translator.

Samura, who turned 22 on Tuesday, just had a daughter born last week.

“I know I was raised better than this,” Samura said. “I realize one mistake messes up your whole life. I wish I could take my actions back.”

Cozza sentenced Samura to 12 months in prison for the second-degree assault charges. But each assault charge carried a firearm enhancement, which added three years to each charge. As a result, Samura received 84 months, or seven years, in prison.

“I’m sorry for what happened that night,” Samura said. “I’m sorry to my newborn daughter and her mother for not being there when they need me most.”


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