The Los Angeles man who screamed “He shot my arm off!” after the 80-year-old owner of a Norco liquor store fired on him to foil a robbery in July 2022 will serve up to 10 years in state prison after pleading guilty to most of the charges levied against him.
Rasheed DaShawn Lee Belvin, 24, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted robbery, assault with a machine gun or assault weapon, cruelty to an elder, carrying a loaded stolen firearm, illegal possession of an assault weapon and two counts of receiving stolen property.
Belvin received eight years alone on the assault charge. In total, he was sentenced by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Gary Polk to 10 years and four months in custody, with approximately the first year to be served locally while he faces similar robbery charges in Orange County.
Belvin made the plea to the court over the objection of the District Attorney’s Office and was sentenced on Oct. 31. He faced up to 27 years in prison on the original charges.
“Our position was that the court-indicated sentence was not just, due to the sophistication of the robbery, the use of an assault weapon by Belvin, and the fact that the 80-year-old victim suffered a heart attack because of the crime,” said Brooke Beare, a district attorney’s spokeswoman, in an email.
“Our prosecutor stressed to the court that this type of case does not deserve judicial leniency, considering how vulnerable this victim was, the sophistication of the crime, and the fact that the crime involved both great violence and bodily injury,” she added.
Cope recovered from the heart attack, suffered moments after the shooting, and returned to the store but he died of complications from a stroke in December 2022. He was not charged with any crime.
On July 31, 2022, at about 3 a.m., four men in a BMW rolled into the parking lot of Norco Market & Liquor on Sixth Street. As one accomplice held the door open, Belvin went inside and wielded the firearm at Cope.
Cope, who was in the store doing paperwork so he kept the store open, pulled out a shotgun from behind the counter, pointed it at Belvin and fired.
“It was him or me,” Cope, who hunted small game as a child in Illinois, said in an interview afterward.
Belvin ran screaming to the getaway car, shouting, “He shot my arm off!” four times, according to video-surveillance footage.
The robbers were arrested after they took Belvin to Placentia-Linda Hospital in Placentia. His arm was not severed.
Word of the shooting made Cope a folk hero in self-proclaimed Horsetown USA, where people wear shirts that say, “God, family, guns and freedom.”
Almost overnight, other shirts were produced saying, “Don’t Mess With Norco — We’ll Shoot Your Arm Off.”
Even Sheriff Chad Bianco put one on. A portion of the sales proceeds were donated to Cope.
“It’s kind of amazing to me,” Cope later mused.
The other defendants — Davon Anthony Broadus, 25, and Justin Kyle Johnson, 23, both of Inglewood; and Jamar Elijah Williams, 27, of Las Vegas — pleaded guilty to various charges on Sept. 20 and were each sentenced to about three years in custody.
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