GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – A Fayetteville man was sentenced to almost 16 years in federal prison Wednesday for an armed robbery of a Moe’s Southwest Grill during in which two people were wounded, authorities said.
Ernest Tulsida Carpenter, 44, entered the Moe’s on North McPherson Street in Fayetteville wearing a black ski mask and carrying a semi-automatic handgun, then threatened to “shoot every employee in the business,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
During the December 2014 robbery, Carpenter approached an employee, demanded money and threatened to shoot employees if the safe was not opened, the prosecutor’s office said. Several customers and four employees were in the establishment at the time, the office said.
Carpenter forced employees at gunpoint into the rear office where the safe was located, according to officials.
“The defendant leaned down to retrieve money and an employee lunged at Carpenter,” the federal prosecutor’s office said in a news release.
“A struggle ensued and the defendant fired two rounds from his firearm. One employee was shot in the foot and a second employee was shot in the abdomen.”
In the struggle, Carpenter’s mask was pulled partly off, and he fled without taking any money, officials said. He was detained soon after.
Carpenter pleaded guilty in May to charges of interference with commerce by robbery and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Wednesday, Senior U.S. District Judge Malcolm J. Howard sentenced Carpenter to 15 years and 10 months in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.