- Associated Press - Thursday, April 21, 2016

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - An Iowa man who engaged two police officers in a shootout after robbing a downtown Fargo motel must serve 30 years in prison, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

About a dozen Fargo police officers in their uniforms sat in the courtroom behind Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith Reisenauer as he described Eric Webb’s actions and what the prosecutor called a lack of remorse. Webb fired a gun into the front desk of the Howard Johnson motel during the June 4 robbery and later shot at Fargo officers Matt Niemeyer and Todd Wahl.

During the exchange of gunfire, Niemeyer shot Webb, who spent several weeks in a hospital recovering.

“They put their lives on the line every single day,” Reisenauer said, motioning to the officers around him. “They are here in support of their officers that had to get involved in a shooting.”

About six months after the shootout with Webb, a Fargo police officer was gunned down while responding to a domestic disturbance. Jason Moszer was the first Fargo police officer to die in the line of duty in more than a century.

Webb, 31, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, pleaded guilty in January to three counts, including use of a firearm during a crime of violence. He spoke up several times during his hearing Thursday and at one point, U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson told him “you’ll get a chance” to comment.

When he did get to talk, Webb turned to the spectators in the courtroom and said, “I’m sorry.” He called the police officers brave and said he forgives Niemeyer for shooting him. He said the “hotel people” did not deserve to be terrorized.

“I’m going to stand up like a man and take it,” Webb said before the judge announced the sentence. “They are going to do to me what they’re going to do to me. I hope that gives everybody peace. I’m ready.”

Defense attorney Christopher Lancaster said Webb suffers from mental health issues and poor impulse control.

Webb faced a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and maximum term of life. The plea deal called for 30 years.

Reisenauer quoted several times from a letter that Webb sent to a newspaper. He said Webb wrote in the letter that he robbed the motel so he could move his fiancee and one of her children away from a person he suspected of molesting the child.

Webb wrote that “at least I tried” to get even for his family, the prosecutor said.

Reisenauer added that Webb got “300 measly dollars” in the robbery.

“He wanted to kill police officers to maybe get an apartment for his girlfriend and her kid,” Reisenauer said. “That doesn’t sound remorseful at all. That sounds like he doesn’t care.”

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