A Smith County jury this week sentenced a man who was on parole for drug trafficking to life in prison for aggravated robbery.
The jury on Thursday handed down the sentence for Gabriel Lamondo Johnson, 44, of Garrison, for robbing the manager of Razzoo’s Cajun Cafe restaurant, according to a statement from Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman.
According to the statement, Johnson on Nov. 19, 2018, “ambushed” the manager of the restaurant at gunpoint when he exited the business and “forced him back inside.” Johnson demanded the manager open the restaurant’s safe that contained about $2,500 in cash.
“Johnson then tied the victim up on the floor of the restaurant office, and told him if he moved he would come back and kill him,” the statement said.
During sentencing, the jury “heard evidence of Johnson’s extensive criminal history, including six prior felony convictions,” according to Putman.
Johnson will have to serve 30 years of the sentence before he becomes eligible for parole.
According to CBS19, Johnson was arrested on Jan. 30, 2019 following a traffic stop in Nacogdoches about two months after the crime.
Investigators were notified of Johnson’s arrest, in which he was booked on multiple drug charges, a parole warrant, and the aggravated robbery warrant. At the time, the Tyler Police Department said Johnson had a lengthy criminal history and was on parole at the time of the crime.
Looking back at statistics from the Tyler Police Department the year of Johnson’s crime, there were 280 aggravated assault crimes in 2018. That was 58 more than 2017 and but is less than those reported in 2019 through 2021, at 284, 367, and 353, respectively.
Overall, violent crimes in general were about the same in 2018 as they were most recently in the 2021 preliminary report, which reflects 490 in 2018 and 489 in 2021.
Among the recent efforts by the police department to reduce crime in Tyler is the creation of a priority response team, which targets areas where crime is usually high.