A federal judge on Friday sentenced a Massachusetts man who allegedly fired a semi-automatic handgun in downtown Portland in 2016 to three years in prison. Credit: Stock image | Pixabay

A federal judge on Friday sentenced a Massachusetts man who allegedly fired a semi-automatic handgun in downtown Portland in 2016 to three years in prison.

Noor Mohamed, of Roxbury Massachusetts, was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release by Judge Nancy Torresen for illegally possessing a firearm.

Mohamed, 27, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon and still faces an attempted murder charge in state court arising from the the same incident. In November 2016, after a dispute in the Old Port, he allegedly shot at least three rounds on Silver Street, nearly hitting a man.

Dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit with a string of prayer beads around his neck, Mohamed told Torresen that he accepts full responsibility for his crime. “I apologize to the victims, my family and the federal government,” he said, breaking into tears.

In imposing the sentence, Torresen noted that only a tiny distance in the path of a bullet saved Mohamed from having shot a man. One of the bullets he allegedly fired missed its apparent target but left a hole in the man’s sweatshirt, the judge said.

“Not only did you shoot, but for the grace of God you missed him — but only by a hair’s breadth,” Torresen said.

[Police arrest Massachusetts man after Old Port shooting]

Mohamed’s lawyer had asked the U.S. District Court of Maine to impose a sentence of 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release, saying that the support after leaving prison was key for his client.

After prison, this period would help Mohamed to mend the harm of a childhood tattered by war in his native Somalia, federal public defender David Beneman said. He has “untreated PTSD,” the lawyer said.

Mohamed has past criminal convictions in Maine and Massachusetts, but had a conviction in the second state dismissed among the more than 19,000 cases that were found to be tainted by a state drug lab chemist who admitted to falsifying test results and tampering with evidence.

Torresen said she sees Mohamed as “being under a lucky star” in terms of the sentence he faces and advised him to seek mental health and substance abuse treatment in prison.

“You run the risk of becoming someone doing what we call a life sentence in installments,” she warned.

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