VAN NUYS — Two years after a robbery ended in a wild shootout on city streets, one of three men involved in a three-hour crime spree along Sepulveda Boulevard was sentenced to life in prison plus 46 years.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kathryne Ann Stoltz imposed the sentenced on Michael Mitchell, 31, for his role in the June 22, 1995, incident.
Mitchell and two other men, including his younger brother, were convicted earlier.
Stoltz cited the "aggravated nature" of the crime in handing down the life sentence. Mitchell was convicted on 13 counts that included carjacking, assault with a deadly weapon and the attempted murder of a security guard, who was shot in the leg.
Mitchell, his hair parted in four platted braids, sat stone-faced during the proceedings.
"Based on his prior record and the use of a gun, I think he is particularly dangerous to the community and should be incarcerated as long as possible," argued Deputy Dist. Atty. Larry Morrison.
Along with 23-year-old Lamonti Mitchell, and a third man, Charles Knight, Mitchell burst into a medical office in the 7300 block of Sepulveda, demanding cash and jewelry from five patrons and three employees inside.
The robbers pistol-whipped a doctor and threatened a crying infant, authorities said.
A next-door neighbor at a travel agency saw the men enter and called police.
Trying to escape, the Mitchell brothers exchanged gunfire with officers on city streets. Before commandeering a car, they continued shooting while ducking into a swap meet, where the security guard was shot once in the thigh. The men were finally captured at an apartment complex nearby. Michael Mitchell was also wounded in the incident.
For the elder Mitchell the case represented his second strike. His brother, who will be sentenced July 8, is facing a third strike.
Because of their extensive criminal history, Morrison said the punishment fit the crime.
"These are the type of people that the law is designed for," he said.