Man sentenced to 40 years in Mississippi prison for fatal shooting of bystander

Published 10:15 am Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A Mississippi man has been sentenced in the shooting death of a shipyard employee who was on his way home from work in 2018.

Luis Soto Jr., 29, was ordered on Tuesday to spend 40 years in prison, news outlets reported. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of shooting into a motor vehicle.

Leland Sumrall, 61, was an innocent bystander when he was shot multiple times on his ride home on Jan. 25, 2018, investigators determined. He crashed his motorcycle and later died at a hospital.

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Police initially said road rage made Soto fatally shoot Sumrall. But Soto said he had been at a bar, got angry and pulled out a gun on a couple of military service members, news outlets reported. The two active-duty service members left the bar and Soto followed, District Attorney Angel Myers McIlrath said.

Soto fired shots at their vehicle, injuring them.

After firing the shots, Soto drove the wrong way on U.S. 90 and fatally shot Sumrall. The shipyard worker wasn’t involved in the disagreement at the bar, the district attorney said.