Hopi man, former Marine sniper sentenced to federal prison for shooting spree

PHOENIX, Ariz. - On May 14, Mitchell James Karty, 39, of Second Mesa, Ariz., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg to 177 months (14.75 years) in federal prison. Karty pleaded guilty on Feb. 21, 2012, to use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault of a federal officer.

"These officers demonstrated tremendous courage and put their lives on the line to remove a domestic violence victim and her family from serious danger," said Acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel. "Just as these officers were committed to protecting the victim, her family, and the community, the U.S. Attorney's Office is deeply committed to prosecuting violent crime and ensuring public safety in Indian Country."

According to court documents, on Oct. 5, 2011, police officers responded to a residence on the Hopi Indian Reservation following a domestic violence incident in which Karty was the suspect. Officers waited at the residence while the victim of the incident packed some belongings and waited for a Hopi domestic violence counselor to arrive. While officers were waiting, Karty returned to the residence, verbally taunted the officers, and then drove away.

Concerned for the victim's safety, officers instructed her to get inside of a police vehicle with her young child. An officer then began driving the vehicle to the police station, with another police vehicle following behind. En route to the station, when officers saw Karty's vehicle approaching them from the front at a high rate of speed, they activated their lights and sirens.

Karty then stopped his vehicle in front of the officers at an angle that blocked both lanes of travel. Karty jumped out of his vehicle, put a high powered Mak 90 assault rifle to his shoulder, took aim at the police vehicle, and fired his weapon several times. Several bullets struck the vehicle while the victim and her child crouched below the dashboard. The officer was able to drive past Karty's vehicle on the dirt shoulder at a high rate of speed and continued to the police station.

Meanwhile, Karty returned to his vehicle and officers from several agencies pursued him throughout the day. During the pursuit, Karty got out of his vehicle on three separate occasions and fired at officers, striking and damaging several vehicles. One of the officers was injured when a bullet caused several metal fragments to splinter and embed behind his ear. Karty eventually abandoned his vehicle on the side of the road and fled on foot.

Several hours later, Karty turned himself in and was arrested by the FBI. Upon arrest, officers located the Mak 90 assault rifle, three loaded magazines, and other loose live ammunition.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the

Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Hopi Tribal Rangers. The prosecution is being handled by Melissa Karlen and Roger Dokken, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

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