Suspects charged in connection with shooting of mail carrier
Defendants set to go before judge on Thursday
SAN ANTONIO – Three suspects were charged in connection with the shooting of a U.S. mail carrier on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Suspects 22-year-old Bradley A’Hearn and 26-year-old Sara Richford have been charged with one count of assault of a federal agent, one count of carjacking, one count of violating the Hobbs Act — interference with commerce by violence — and one count of mail theft, a criminal complaint stated.
Piper Lee, 40, is charged with one count of aiding and abetting the assault of a federal officer, a second criminal complaint stated.
The complaint said A‘Hearn shot a female mail carrier while she was delivering mail in Spring Branch on Saturday when she refused to give him her cellphone.
The mail carrier is recovering from the gunshot wound in her leg.
Authorities said the suspect left the scene in the victim’s vehicle, which contained her personal belongings along with a considerable amount of mail. Richford followed in a separate vehicle as they fled the scene.
A U.S. Postal Inspection Service agent on Monday saw Richford's vehicle near the site of the shooting. While attempting to stop the vehicle, A’Hearn shot at the agent. A’Hearn also shot at other law enforcement personnel who joined the pursuit, the complaint states. The suspects managed to escape.
Federal agents were notified by employees of a motel on Tuesday that a large amount of mail and a handgun were found in one of the rooms the suspects were staying in, the complaint states. Federal authorities said the mail found was destined for Spring Branch.
That same day, investigators recovered the vehicle Richford was driving not far from the motel. Surveillance footage from the motel showed investigators that the suspects were using another vehicle, a yellow Volkswagen.
Agents saw the suspects leave in the yellow Volkswagen and requested the San Antonio Police Department’s help to initiate a stop of the vehicle.
The suspects failed to stop and began shooting at San Antonio police. They ended up abandoning the vehicle inside a North Star Mall parking garage and managed to escape law enforcement again, the complaint said.
At 9 a.m. on Wednesday, San Antonio police, acting on information provided to investigators, arrested the suspects in the parking lot of the Sunset Inn Motel.
Once arrested, Richford told investigators A'Hearn pulled the trigger in Spring Branch and also while escaping law enforcement. She said Lee drove them on Tuesday when they avoided officers at North Star Mall.
Lee and Richford lived together. A search warrant was served at their apartment Wednesday evening.
All three suspects are set to go before a judge at 11 a.m. Thursday. If convicted, A’Hearn and Richford face up to 20 years in prison for assault of a federal agent, up to 25 years in prison for carjacking, up to 20 years in prison for violating the Hobbs Act and up to five years in prison for mail theft. Lee faces up to 20 years in prison for aiding and abetting the assault of a federal officer.
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