BUFFALO — The gunman who triggered a wild shoot-out with federal agents in a Wal-Mart parking lot on Porter Road in the Falls in January 2007 will spend more than 27 years in prison.

Garry James, 24, 1366 Michigan Ave., was sentenced to a total of 330 months, 271⁄2 years, by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Richard Arcara in federal court in Buffalo on Tuesday. James had previously pleaded guilty to attempted murder, assault, robbery and weapons use and possession charges in the case.

His sentencing had been delayed, after he tried to withdraw his guilty plea, but James ultimately dropped that request.

He is the last of three men charged in the melee to be sentenced.

Alphonso “Mack” Moody, 21, 3213 Ninth St., is serving a sentence of 166 months, almost 14 years, behind bars for his guilty plea to charges of assault, robbery and weapons possession. Jermaine “Main” Ellison, 21, 942 Grove Ave., is serving a sentence of 41 months, just over three years, in prison, after taking a deal with prosecutors on assault and robbery charges.

Arcara sentenced James to 210 months in prison for his conviction on the charges relating to the attempted robbery of a confidential informant, the shooting of that informant and for shooting at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. He received an additional 120-month sentence for having a gun and using it during an attempted gun buying sting that went bad.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Maigret, who handled the case, was pleased with the lengthy prison term.

“I think everyone is happy with it,” Maigret said.

Ellison, Moody and James had been the targets of an undercover sting, aimed at taking guns off Cataract City streets. However a planned “buy-bust” quickly went bad and the result saw bullets flying through a crowded shopping center parking lot in the early evening hours.

The trouble began when an informant for ICE agents arranged to meet James to buy what investigators said were five high-powered semi-automatic weapons. However, as the sting unfolded, a Falls police investigator said it “went bad, real quick.”

In a statement to investigators, Moody said he had set James up to sell guns to the informant. He said James had previously robbed and shot him and had threatened to continue robbing him unless he found another victim.

After agreeing to meet the informant in the Wal-Mart parking lot and posting Ellison and his brother as look-outs, James and Moody walked over to a waiting car, with federal agents and Falls police keeping a close watch on them.

Inside the green Lincoln Continental being driven by the informant, James opened a case containing a Tec-9 semi-automatic handgun. The informant flashed a money roll of about $1,500.

Then the sting unraveled.

“(James) pulled out another gun and put it to the back of my head and said he was going to shoot me,” the informant said afterwards. “He told (Moody) to take he money out of my pocket.”

Moody grabbed the cash and the informant’s cell phone and then the gunfire started.

“I yelled for help,” the informant said. “Then (James) leaned over and shot me in the left leg.”

At the sound of the gunfire, a SUV with an ATF and an ICE agent raced toward the informant’s car. James and Moody jumped out of the car. The ATF agent got out of the passenger side of the SUV, while the ICE agent jumped from the driver side of the vehicle.

The agents shouted for James and Moody to stop, when James turned and fired at them. One bullet hit the SUV, striking within six inches of the ICE agent.

“Garry was getting out of the car and he started shooting at a SUV truck that pulled up to (the informant’s) car,” Moody told police. “Garry fired three or four shots.”

James later claimed he thought the SUV contained the informant’s “people” and that they were coming to shoot him. Neither of the federal agents returned James’ fire or were injured.

Contact reporter Rick Pfeiffer

at 282-2311, ext. 2252.e

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