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Prosecuting Attorney

Posted on: May 26, 2017

Former Marine who fired 48 rounds at Tacoma gas station, killing one, is sentenced to prison

TACOMA, WA – Today Robert Deshawn Grott, 31, was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the murder of Julian “Jay” Thomas, 23, in February of last year. A jury convicted Grott in March of this year. 

Thomas’ mother, Verna Thomas, tearfully addressed the court at sentencing today. “I believe everyone deserves a chance in spite of their actions. But you took a man’s life from behind. He had no idea what was about to happen until it was too late. For now, I could never forgive you for such a cowardly act.” 

The judge sentenced Grott to 50 years in prison. 

"We promised to take this defendant off our streets for as long as possible and Deputy Prosecutors Jesse Williams and John Sheeran delivered on the promise," said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. 

On February 1, 2016, Tacoma Police received reports of a shooting outside the AM/PM convenience store at the intersection of Center Street and South Union Avenue. Thomas was found dead inside a bullet-riddled vehicle in the parking lot. Approximately 48 shots were fired, indicating the shooter reloaded twice. Thomas was struck more than 10 times. 

Witnesses provided police with a description of the shooter, who fled on a skateboard. Two bystanders had initially followed the shooter, but backed off when they became concerned for their safety. 

The victim’s mother told detectives that Grott and her son had a dispute several months ago about a missing or stolen handgun. Police served a search warrant at Grott’s home and found a case for a Glock 9 mm pistol, consistent with the shell casings recovered at the scene. 

For more information, please contact James Lynch at (253) 798-6265, jlynch@co.pierce.wa.us.

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