MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – A man accused of fatally shooting a Mobile police officer received a sentence Tuesday of more than four years on a federal gun charge.
Chief U.S. District Judge Kristi DuBose sentenced Marco Antonio Perez, 19, to four years and three months for receiving stolen firearms, to be followed by three years on supervised release. She also ordered him to undergo mental health treatment and drug and alcohol abuse treatment.
Officials say Mobile police officer Sean Tuder was trying to arrest Perez on that federal indictment on Jan. 20 when the defendant shot and killed him at the Peach Place Inn in West Mobile.
Perez entered a “blind” plea on the federal charge earlier this year, meaning prosecutors made no agreement to recommend a specific sentence.
“There never was any discussion of a plea deal,” defense attorney Dennis Knizley told FOX10 News.
The gun used in the shooting had been stolen from an unlocked car, prompting the Police Department to launch its “Lock it Up” campaign to promote public awareness about the dangers of unsecured firearms. Public Safety Director James Barber has credited the public service campaign with leading to a 40 percent reduction in gun thefts from vehicles.
Perez faces a capital murder charge in the Tuder shooting and could get the death penalty if convicted. The case awaits action by a grand jury.
Knizley said his client most likely will not serve the federal sentence until after the murder charge is resolved in state court. He said Perez did not know Tuder was a police officer. He said testimony from a preliminary hearing indicated that Tuder got a tip from an informant that Perez would be at the apartment complex and arranged to make the defendant believe his uncle was coming to give him a ride.
“By all accounts and the (surveillance) video, Mr. Perez went toward what he thought was his rise,” he said.
Knizley said his client was surprised by the officer, who was wearing plain clothes and holding a gun in a high-crime area. Surveillance video shows the two men scuffled before tumbling out of view of the video.
Knizley said Perez had no way of knowing the Tuder trying to arrest him and not assault him.
The incident also helped inspire a new law that Alabama Gov. Key Ivey recently signed making possession of a stolen firearm a felony.
An earlier version of this story misspelled Officer Tuder's name.