3 indicted in connection with shooting of mail carrier

Federal grand jury returns 13-count indictment

SAN ANTONIO – A federal grand jury has returned a 13-count indictment charging three people for their alleged roles in a mail theft scheme that involved the shooting of a U.S. mail carrier last month, authorities said.

The indictment charges Bradley A'Hearn, 22, and Sara Richford, 26, with five counts of aiding and abetting assault of a federal officer; three counts of aiding and abetting use of a firearm during a crime of violence; one count of aiding and abetting carjacking; one count of aiding and abetting possession of a stolen firearm; and one count of possession of stolen mail, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The indictment also charges Piper Lee, 40, with two counts of aiding and abetting the assault of a federal officer; one count of aiding and abetting use of a firearm during a crime of violence; and one count of possession of stolen mail.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said court records allege that on Feb. 11 A'Hearn shot a female U.S. mail carrier as she was delivering mail to a cluster of mailboxes in Spring Branch when she would not give him her cellphone.

The victim is recovering from a gunshot wound to her leg. The U.S. Attorney's Office said A'Hearn left in the victim's pickup truck, which still contained the victim's purse and personal effects, and a considerable amount of U.S. mail.

Richford, who was driving a maroon- or brown-colored Toyota Venza, followed A'Hearn as he left the scene, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Court records allege that on Feb., a U.S. Postal Inspection Service agent near the site of the shooting recognized the Toyota Venza vehicle. The U.S. Attorney's Office said the agent, while attempting to stop the vehicle, was allegedly fired upon by A'Hearn.

Other law enforcement personnel who subsequently joined the pursuit were also fired upon by A'Hearn, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. The defendants managed to avoid capture.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said court records further allege that on Feb. 14, agents were notified by employees of a local motel of the presence of a large amount of U.S. mail and a handgun case in one of the motel rooms.

Much of the discovered mail, which originated from locations across the country, was destined for addresses in the Spring Branch area, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Not far from the motel that same day, investigators recovered the abandoned Toyota Venza.

Investigators discovered from motel surveillance footage another vehicle, a yellow Volkswagen, being utilized by the defendants. The U.S. Attorney's Office said agents observed the defendants leave the motel in the yellow Volkswagen and requested San Antonio police to initiate a stop of the vehicle.

The defendants failed to yield to officers and the occupants began shooting at the police, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. The defendants ultimately abandoned their vehicle inside a parking garage of a local mall and managed to elude capture by law enforcement.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said officers, acting on information provided to investigators, arrested the defendants Feb. 15 without incident in a parking lot of a different local motel.

The defendants face upon conviction between 10 years and life in federal prison for aiding and abetting use of a firearm during a crime of violence; up to 25 years imprisonment for aiding and abetting carjacking; up to 25 years imprisonment for aiding and abetting robbery of mail; up to 20 years imprisonment for aiding and abetting assault on a federal officer; up to 10 years imprisonment for aiding and abetting possession of a stolen firearm; and up to five years imprisonment for possession of stolen mail, the U.S. Attorney's Office.

All three remain in federal custody.

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