WILMINGTON, N.C. – A South Carolina man was sentenced Friday to 240 months in prison for a shooting rampage targeting moving vehicles on I-95 in North Carolina. Charges included possessing an unregistered short-barrel shotgun, transporting an unregistered firearm across state lines, and transporting a prohibited weapon without a license. Franklin Joseph Dangerfield, 35, pled guilty to all three charges.
“This defendant created terror on a major interstate by his reckless and criminal behavior of shooting at innocent people simply driving their car,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “I am grateful for the cooperation of many law enforcement agencies in bringing this crime spree to an end. We will vigorously prosecute those who use gun violence to inflict trauma and fear in our community.”
On September 5, 2020, Dangerfield drove from his home in Goose Creek, South Carolina, north along I-95 into North Carolina in a black pickup truck. As Dangerfield entered Robeson County, still driving north on I-95, he began shooting from his vehicle into other moving vehicles. Dangerfield fired at least three separate shots at a moving vehicle, striking the driver’s side window. No occupants were injured at this point.
Dangerfield continued travelling north through Nash County, where he began firing again at multiple moving vehicles along I-95. Dangerfield shot at ten separate occupied vehicles while in Nash County, causing damage to nine of them.
During this spree, Dangerfield shot an elderly female victim in her shoulder. She was airlifted to Vidant Trauma Center in Greenville, North Carolina. Another victim in a separate vehicle sustained damage from glass fragments that entered their eyes, face, back and feet. This victim was taken to Vidant North Hospital in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.
Deputies with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office, the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office, and the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office pursued Dangerfield in his pickup truck in a high-speed chase along I-95. During the chase, Dangerfield exceeded speeds of 110 miles per hour and drove in the middle of both lanes, forcing multiple vehicles off the road. The pursuit ended after 37 miles, when Dangerfield attempted to take an exit in Emporia, Virginia at a high rate of speed, and collided with an embankment before striking a guardrail and flipping over. Virginia State Police officers then secured Dangerfield into custody. At the time, Dangerfield was unresponsive. Law enforcement transported Dangerfield to Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center to treat his injuries. Bloodwork confirmed Dangerfield’s blood alcohol content was 0.265.
Inside Dangerfield’s truck, law enforcement recovered a Savage Arms Springfield 67H 12-gauge shotgun with a 13-inch barrel, eight 12-gauge shotgun shells, and nine spent 12-gauge shotgun shells.
On September 9, 2020, Special Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) arrested Dangerfield on a criminal complaint. On September 23, 2020, a federal grand jury charged Dangerfield in a three-count Indictment, charging him with Possession of an Unregistered Firearm, Transport of an Unregistered Firearm, and Transport of a Prohibited Weapon without a License.
Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Nash County Sheriff’s Office, Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, Northampton County Sheriff’s Office, and Robeson County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Aakash Singh prosecuted the case.