A Paragould resident who confessed to opening fire on police officers has been handed a 120-month federal prison term today, Your Content has learned.
United States District Judge Lee P. Rudofsky delivered the maximum sentence permitted by law.
On February 7, 2021, Taj Harris, a 23-year-old individual with an active arrest warrant, was spotted by Paragould police officers near Walnut Street and Second Street in Paragould.
As the officers moved to apprehend Harris, he brandished a firearm and discharged it in the direction of one officer, causing the officer to take evasive action by diving to the ground.
Another officer witnessed the gunfire exchange and observed the first officer taking cover.
Fearing for the first officer’s safety, the second officer retaliated with multiple shots in Harris’s direction.
In response, Harris returned fire at the second officer.
Following the incident, officers pursued Harris on foot as he attempted to flee the scene.
A civilian effectively cornered Harris between a house and a fence, wielding a golf club to deter him, and promptly alerted the officers, facilitating his arrest.
Law enforcement subsequently discovered a stolen firearm with a high-capacity magazine near Harris’s feet.
Importantly, Harris is a previously convicted felon.
The following day, while in custody at Greene County Jail, Harris openly admitted to his mother during a phone conversation that he had indeed fired at the police officers and had intended to shoot them if they tried to physically restrain him.
A federal grand jury indicted Harris on July 6, 2021, for illegally possessing a firearm as a felon, carrying a maximum prison sentence of 120 months.
Harris pleaded guilty to the charge on November 15, 2022.
Alongside serving a mandatory 10-year prison term, Harris was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.
It is important to note that parole does not apply in the federal system.
The investigation into the case was conducted jointly by the Paragould Police Department and the FBI. J. William Crow, Assistant United States Attorney, served as the prosecutor on behalf of the United States, according to United States attorneys office.