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FEDERAL JURY CONVICTS MAN OF CAR JACKING

HOUSTON – A federal jury sitting in Houston has convicted a 35-year-old Houston man for carjacking and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. The jury deliberated for approximately three hours before convicting Sean Rodriguez following a less than a three-day trial.

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.

Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal presided over the trial and set the sentencing for Jan. 4, 2019. At that time, Rodriguez faces up to 15 years in prison for the carjacking as well as a mandatory minimum of 10 years for the discharging of a firearm which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed.

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. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

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