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Man gets 33 years in attempted killing of police officers

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man has been sentenced to 33 years in prison for trying to kill two police officers after a high-speed chase.

Jermel McSwain, 36, was sentenced Tuesday on charges including two counts of attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer, The Virginian-Pilot reports. He pleaded guilty in June after prosecutors dropped four additional ammunition and drug charges.

Two Chesapeake officers ran the license plate of McSwain’s car during an attempted traffic stop in April 2018 and learned that he was wanted on several charges, according to prosecutors and court documents.

Prosecutor Brandon Wrobleski said McSwain fled at speeds reaching more than 100 mph, then got out and shot at officers, one of whom returned fire. McSwain got away, but his DNA was found on a hat and cigarette at the scene of the Portsmouth shootout, and drugs were found in a backpack in the car. McSwain was later arrested in Norfolk.

McSwain’s sentence totals 83 years, with 40 years suspended and 10 of the remaining 43 to be served concurrently. Defense attorney Jon Babineau said McSwain blames marijuana for his actions and plans to use his time in prison to advocate against drugs. He said McSwain regrets what he did and addressed the officers in court on Tuesday.

“He looked right at them and said, ‘I apologize to you and your family, and I’m glad you’re still alive,’” he said.

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