SAN FRANCISCO — A Bay Point man who was investigated and charged with being a felon in possession of guns after a car containing him, his fiancee, and their 2-year-old daughter was shot up has been sentenced to three years and seven months in federal prison, court records show
Charles Pettus, 28, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg, according to court records. Pettus pleaded guilty to a gun charge at an earlier court date.
In the April 2020 shooting, an assailant fired 13 shots into a car being driven by Pettus on Interstate 580. All three occupants, including the 2-year-old, were struck by gunfire. The young girl required hospitalization but survived, according to court records.
Responding officers later discovered a pistol in Pettus’ car, and authorities subsequently authored a search warrant for his Bay Point home. During the search, another pistol with an extended magazine was discovered a few feet from where an “infant” lay sleeping, according to the criminal complaint.
Pettus apologized in a letter to the court, saying he wanted to move outside of the Bay Area.
“I was on the right path,” he wrote. “One bad choice I realize can set me back 10 steps I have to make better choices. I grew up without my father and don’t want to make the same mistakes by not being there for my child.”
In court records, Pettus’ attorney wrote that Pettus’ father was murdered when he was 11 years old.
Prosecutors argued for a 46-month sentence and described Pettus’ as a repeat offender with gang ties. He was convicted of robbery in 2011 and of gun possession in 2013, and months before the shooting suffered a vandalism conviction for damaging his girlfriend’s car.
“Mr. Pettus is believed to have ties to the ‘Down Below Gang,’ a recognized violent gang in San Francisco that is named in a gang injunction issued by a San Francisco Superior Court,” assistant U.S. attorney Marja-Liisa Overbeck wrote in a sentencing memo. “At a minimum, Mr. Pettus has resisted cutting ties with other gang members, and those ties appear to continue to plague him and demonstrate that he remains a danger to the community.”
Pettus’ attorney, Sophia Whiting, wrote in a sentencing memo that those gang ties may have been why Pettus felt he needed protection. She said when he was shot he was in the process of moving from the area to distance himself from his past.
“Mr. Pettus regrets having a firearm out with a baby, but it is important to note that the only child in the home was Mr. Pettus’ 4-monthold son. The baby could not have accessed the gun,” Whiting wrote. “Normally, Mr. Pettus secured the firearm on a shelf above his height in a closed closet. The reason Mr. Pettus had the gun was to protect his family, not to put them at risk, but he recognizes now that he was not thinking clearly and put them all at greater risk by having a gun.”
Pettus has been in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin since his arrest last year.
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Author: Nate Gartrell
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