The 20-year-old man who wounded his father and a sheriff’s deputy last June in Warren County was sentenced Wednesday to 36 years in prison.
Mohammed Laghaoui, 20, was sentenced after an emotional statement by Katie Barnes, the deputy he wounded on June 9 after she responded for the second time to a domestic violence call to his family’s apartment.
“Your young life, which once held so much possibility, is never going to be realized,” Barnes said. “You made some very poor decisions. Those decisions have ruined your life.”
Laghaoui’s father, Abdesfadek, was also wounded after Laghaoui retrieved a gun from his car and started shooting. The weapon was never recovered despite extended search efforts.
Bullet fragments were found in neighboring apartments and vehicles.
Laghaoui also was convicted in his April trial of attempted murder for firing at a neighbor before disappearing for about seven hours, prompting a lockdown of the community during a manhunt for him that ended when he returned to the apartment.
Sheriff Larry Sims joined Barnes as she faltered during her statement.
“I stand with no regrets,” Barnes said, adding she was a better person as a result of “this horrific incident.”
Assistant County Prosecutor John Arnold said Laghaoui ambushed Barnes as she approached the apartment and was shot in the stomach.
“She came within a fraction of an inch of losing her life,” Arnold said. “A fraction of an inch and we would have been sitting here on a case of capital murder.”
Arnold described the incident, which shut down the Landen area of the county, as a night of terror for residents and law enforcement alike.
“We must protect those who protect us,” Arnold said in urging Judge Timothy Tepe to order a maximum sentence. “The whole community was a victim that night, a whole community held in terror.”
Tepe sentenced Laghaoui to the maximum sentence, 18 years, for the attempted aggravated murder of Barnes, which the judge said was as “totally unacceptable.”
In addition, Tepe sentenced Laghaoui to 10 years for firing at neighbor Jason Ratliff, and 8 years for felonious assault on his father, whose hand was badly injured by shots fired through the apartment door.
Sentences for tampering with evidence and domestic violence will be served concurrently.
With 369 days of jail credit, Laghaoui faces about 35 years in state prison.
Laghaoui’s father and lawyer Nadeem Quraishi urged Tepe to be lenient in recognition of Laghaoui’s mental illness.
Quraishi recalled Laghaoui believing he had a snake in his throat in June 2015.
“He was never the same after that,” Quraishi said.
The lawyer also reminded Tepe that — although the jury did not find Laghaoui not guilty by reason of insanity — three experts found he suffered from mental problems.
“There was no treatment,” Quraishi said. “He was struggling with these issues.”
Laghaoui was planning to leave the area, but it was unclear where he was headed or why he was boning up on the AK-47 semi-automatic rifle.
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On June 9, 2016, Quraishi said Laghaoui was provoked by his brother during a family quarrel sparked when he failed to clean up hummus as his father and brother were fasting in recognition of Ramadan, a Muslim holy month.
Laghaoui declined to make a statement and resisted standing before Tepe during the sentencing.
But Quraishi quoted Laghaoui as saying, ““Yes, I feel badly,” and summarizing the incident as a “catastrophe” and “disaster.”
In a press release, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said, “Today’s stiff sentence serves notice to those who might ambush a police officer that we will seek maximum charges and the maximum sentence in an effort to protect those men and women who dedicate their lives to making Warren County safe.”