PORTLAND – An ex-convict from Brooklyn, N.Y., who got out of the back of a police cruiser after his arrest in Portland last fall and grabbed at a rookie patrolman’s gun in what police called a “win or die” fight was sentenced Tuesday to 8½ years in prison.

Fitzgerald Carryl, 31, grabbed Officer Sean Hurley’s gun during a traffic stop on St. John Street on Oct. 1, 2012. Hurley grabbed Carryl’s hand and forced it down toward the holster, a prosecutor said at Carryl’s sentencing in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court.

As Hurley and Carryl struggled, another officer used a Taser to subdue Carryl, ending a situation that “could easily have gone to hell fairly quickly,” said Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz as he issued his sentence.

Carryl pleaded guilty to three Class C felonies — illegal possession of a firearm, reckless conduct and attempted theft — as part of a plea agreement. The more serious felony charges of escape and assault on a police officer were dismissed.

A Class C felony is punishable by as much as five years in prison, but the judge ordered Carryl to serve 3½ years for illegal possession of a firearm, followed by five years on the other two charges.

Carryl came to Maine from New York on Sept. 30, 2012, with another felon, Kaemer Wilson, 28, on a “mission” to carry out two home invasions to rob drug dealers in Portland, said Deputy District Attorney Megan Elam.

Police were seeking a silver sedan matching the description of a vehicle that was seen leaving one of the homes. They stopped Carryl’s 2002 Acura on St. John Street for having a fogged windshield, according to court records.

Carryl was arrested when police searched the glove box of the car and found a loaded .45-caliber handgun. As a convicted felon, Carryl is not allowed to possess firearms.

Carryl’s attorney, Clifford Strike, argued that his client should receive a lesser sentence than Wilson, who got 10 years with all but four years suspended. Strike argued that Wilson pleaded guilty to carrying out the home invasion robberies.

Police Chief Michael Sauschuck spoke at the hearing, saying that what happened with the officer’s gun was a life-or-death situation.

“Officer Hurley is fighting with an individual over a firearm in the street. If he doesn’t win, he’s going to die,” Sauscheck said, adding that Hurley had been on the job for only several months.

Carryl apologized to God, the judge, his family, his fiancee and Maine. His mother and fiancee attended the hearing and spoke in his support.

“I did mess up,” Carryl said. “I messed up big time.”

 

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

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