A White couple accused of opening fire on a Black man and his 10-year-old son when the victims were returning a U-Haul van was handed a 33-month prison sentence after they pleaded no contest to three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Wallace and Beverly Fountain were convicted after they entered the plea during an April 27 hearing. The August 2020 shooting occurred at a Tallahassee strip mall that is owned by the couple.
The Fountains were said to be surveilling their property when they opened fire on Charles McMillon Jr. and his 10-year-old son after they drove to the establishment to drop off the rented van. At the time of the shooting, the convicted couple claimed their business had been targeted by vandals and thieves.
Though McMillon and his son did not sustain any injuries from the shooting, the incident left the Black victims traumatized. The older McMillon also labeled the shooting as an incident of racial profiling.
Responding to the court ruling in a news release, the lawyer for the victims, Charles Gee, said that the prison sentences handed out to the White couple afforded the McMillons “a sense of closure after enduring such a harrowing experience.”
“The family is grateful that justice has been served, and they hope that their story can serve as a reminder of the importance of seeking justice for victims and their families,” Gee added. “As convicted felons, Beverly and Wallace Fountain will not only spend the next 33 months in the DOC but they will also never be able to possess a firearm, bringing a measure of justice to the family and the community at large.”
However, the Fountains plan to appeal the ruling and sentence, per the Tallahassee Democrat.