The Hobbs Act defines robbery as unlawfully taking another person’s property “by means of actual or threatened force.”
On November 6, 2021, Cody Jerome Cooley, 22, visited Academy Sports + Outdoors in Gulfport. Cooley approached the gun counter, where he was served by a store clerk. He asked to see one of the handguns, a Springfield Armory XDM Elite.
The clerk gave Cooley the firearm to examine. Cooley motioned towards another handgun in the display case. When the clerk turned his head to look at the gun, Cooley looked both ways, struck the clerk in the face with the Springfield Armory handgun, and fled from the store. This was all captured on surveillance footage.
After he fled from the store with the stolen handgun, armed civilians apprehended Cooley in a nearby restaurant parking lot. Post Miranda, Cooley admitted to taking the gun and striking the clerk.
The Springfield Armory handgun had recently been shipped by Academy Sports and Outdoors from out of state to Mississippi to be sold at the store.
The clerk that was struck by Cooley had to receive medical care for his injuries.
Cooley pleaded guilty to unlawfully obstructing, delaying, and affecting interstate commerce by robbery. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 12, 2022. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment.
The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Gulfport Police Department investigated the case.