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A man who committed three armed robberies — including one in which he fired his gun in a donut shop  — was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison, authorities said Friday.

Devon Dwayne Brooks, 23, pleaded guilty in July 2021 to two counts of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of attempted Hobbs Act robbery and two counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of criminal violence, according to a release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. A Hobbs Act robbery is the unlawful taking of another person’s property by means of threatened or actual force.

Brooks was sentenced Thursday to 248 months in prison by a federal court.

In his plea agreement, Brooks admitted to armed robbery at three National City businesses:

  • Alpha and Omega Jewelry store on March 26, 2019
  • Valerio’s Bakeshop on Dec. 30, 2019
  • Winchell’s Donut House on Jan. 2, 2020

During the last incident, Brooks demanded cash from a store clerk with a revolver in his hand, but the clerk resisted. According to court documents, Brooks then fired his weapon, missing the clerk, then proceeded to punch him and “pistol-whip” the clerk before fleeing empty-handed.

“This defendant terrorized and injured store clerks and put their lives at risk,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “He changed their lives forever. This is a prime example of why the Department of Justice prioritizes violent crime. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will continue to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes in a manner that promotes victim rights and ensures just consequences for those who perpetrate violent crimes.”

The maximum penalty for an attempted or successful Hobbs Act robbery is 20 years in prison. The maximum for Brooks’ firearm charge is life in prison, the minimum penalty is seven years.

The FBI and the National City Police Department took part in investigating the case.

–City News Service, Inc.