September 23, 2021

Man who shot US Marshals task force officer sentenced to more than 21 years in prison

Therese Apel

A Hancock County man was recently sentenced to more than 21 years in federal prison for assault of a federal officer and discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.

According to court documents, on July 21, 2020, a member of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force was shot in the neck by Joseph Dale Sonnier, while executing an outstanding arrest warrant.  Sonnier, 32, had an outstanding arrest warrant from the Hancock County Circuit Court for two counts of kidnapping, armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The shooting occurred at the Siegel Select Gautier, an extended stay hotel in Gautier.  After multiple attempts knocking on Sonnier’s hotel room door and announcing their presence, a woman opened the door and told the USMS agents Sonnier was in the room.  The USMS agents, from outside of the hotel room doorway, identified themselves and attempted to call Sonnier out.

Sonnier, who was sitting in the hotel room bathroom, shot two rounds from a High-Point .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol at the USMS agents.  One round fired by Sonnier struck the USMS agent in the neck.  Sonnier was taken into custody unharmed.  The USMS agent was transported to the hospital and treated for the gunshot wound to his neck.

Sonnier pled guilty on April 1 to assault of a federal officer and discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.

According to a release from Acting U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Jermicha Fomby of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, this case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shundral H. Cole.

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