A Virginia man who fired shots at a police officer while fleeing a traffic stop was sentenced to 24 years in prison.
Police officers packed the courtroom for the sentencing of Brian Neftali Landaverde of Herndon, who pleaded guilty to attempted capital murder in December.
A Fairfax County police officer tried to stop Landaverde for running a red light in the Great Falls area in January 2017. He did not stop, and during the ensuing chase, after turning around in a cul-de-sac, he drove straight at the police cruiser and fired at least six shots, police said.
The cruiser was struck by bullets at least twice — once in the hood near the windshield on the driver's side and one in the right rear quarter panel.
The officer, who was not struck by a bullet, followed the car until losing sight of it in a hilly and wooded area.
“It's just a matter of luck and divine intervention that officer is still with us, because you look at a foot here or there and the officer would have been dead,” Faifax County Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Casey Lingan said.
Two teenagers were in the car when the chase began, but one of them got out when the car stopped before turning around in the cul-de-sac, police said.
Landaverde asked the judge for mercy Friday.
"It's something I'm going to regret for the rest of my life," he said. "I'm a changed man ... I can guarantee I will never get in trouble again."
The prosecutor urged the judge to impose a stiff sentence to send a message that community stands behind those who protect them every day.
“We have to have their back when they’re put in peril like that and I think someone who’s willing to take an officer's life is a danger to society as a whole,” Lingan said.
Landaverde's sentence includes 30 years suspended, which he will serve if breaks the law again after his release from prison.