RALEIGH, N.C (STL.News) A federal grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging Earnest Demonte Smith with knowingly being a felon in possession of a firearm.
According to the indictment, Smith, aged 22, was traveling by car in the area of North Bragg Boulevard and Manchester Road in Spring Lake, North Carolina on May 18, 2020. Smith saw a man in another vehicle, whom he recognized because of a prior dispute, and began repeatedly shooting into that vehicle with a 9mm semiautomatic pistol. The vehicle into which Smith fired carried a total of 4 passengers, including a 2-year-old child. No one was injured in the shooting.
Smith is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. If Smith is deemed by the Court to be an Armed Career Criminal, he will face a minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum potential sentence of life imprisonment, upon conviction for the offense charged in the Indictment.
Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) Special Operations and Intelligence Unit, Spring Lake Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms & Explosives (ATF) are investigating the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Evan Rikhye is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.