Faisal Darod, who initially pleaded not guilty in July, changed it while numerous law enforcement officials were present in support of an officer who was injured in the July 6 shootout on Interstate 70.
Prosecutors have recommended a prison sentence of 20-30 years for Darod. He pleaded guilty to nine charges, including aiding and abetting robberies and aiding and abetting the use of a firearm during the robberies.
“This is a good day for justice,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Noah Litton said. “We don’t have any happy days in this case with the number of victims and the number of damage done.”
The July 6 crime spree began at 2 p.m. when police began a pursuit after an armed robbery at a Porsche dealership on the 400 block of North Hamilton Road in Whitehall. Police say Darod and two other men demanded the keys to a black Porsche SUV and drove it to rob a Fifth Third Bank on the 2400 block of Hilliard Rome Road on Columbus’ West Side.
An officer was shot during the pursuit and one of the suspects Abdisamad Ismail, 19, was shot and killed by police on I-70 after the chase. Darod was arrested on July 7 at his Columbus home before being indicted.
More than a dozen Columbus police officers were in the court room Monday morning to support the injured officer, who was hospitalized for more than a month due to his injuries. Columbus police have declined to identify the injured officer and other officers who responded to the shootout, citing Marsy’s Law.
“He will undergo a lifelong struggle. This day in July changed his life and his family’s life,” said Assistant Chief Greg Bodker. “All of our officers that were involved that day, whether they were specifically involved in the incident or they were involved in the aftermath, the heroic actions that day on the freeway were moving and incredible.”
The third suspect, Aden Jama, pleaded guilty on Oct. 11. Jama was arrested on July 8 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport by the U.S. Marshals Service. He had purchased a ticket leaving that day for Turkey.
Investigators said newly installed technology helped find the two suspects.
The U.S. Southern District Court said the plea agreement detailed a June 21 robbery at a GameStop in Hilliard where Darod and another man initially planned to rob a bank until they realized the bank was closed. The agreement also detailed a July 3 robbery of a Corvette Stingray from the Auto Gallery on Westerville Road.