Serial Detroit Carjacker who Shot or Pistol-Whipped Victims Gets 25 Years

April 12, 2023, 5:31 PM by  Allan Lengel

Carjackings continue to plague Detroit.

Photo of a gun defendant posted on social media. (U.S. Atty evidence) 

U.S. District Judge Sean Cox on Tuesday sentenced Rayquan Sturgis, 23, of Detroit, to 25 years in prison for three violent carjackings in June and July 2020, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced. He was 21 at the time of the carjackings.

According to the court documents, Sturgis carjacked three victims after they tried to help him.

►On June 10, 2020, the first victim offered him a ride after he was in a crash at Joy Road and Hubbell on the city's west side. After she drove him 15 minutes away, Sturgis pointed a gun at her and forced her out of her car and drove away, authorities said.

►On June 18, 2020, Sturgis approached the second victim and asked for help jumpstarting his car. After driving Sturgis a few blocks, Sturgis got out of the car, walked around to the driver’s side and shot the victim multiple times without giving him a chance to surrender. The victim suffered permanent injuries from the gunshot wounds, according to a press release.

►On July 7, 2020, Sturgis was given a ride by the third victim from Inkster to Detroit. When they arrived in Detroit, Sturgis pistol whipped the victim while he was driving, stole his sunglasses and then pistol whipped him again and forced him out of the car and drove off.

Two of the carjackings, including where Sturgis shot the victim, went unsolved for nearly a year, authorities said.

The U.S. Attorneys Office, FBI, and Detroit Police continued to investigate the case and were able to identify Sturgis as the carjacker after interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence from his social media accounts and phone records.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and Wayne County Prosecutor's Office worked on the case.

"Individuals who assault and carjack the citizens of this district will not escape the dedicated and persistent employees of the Department of Justice, the Detroit Police Department, and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office," said Detroit U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison.

Carjackings continue to occur in the city, particularly in gas stations where drivers and their cars are easily accessible.

Sturgis's sentencing memorandum points to a troubled past.

At 15, Sturgis and his father beat and strangled a man to death at a Detroit party store. His father served around eight years for manslaughter. Sturgis pled no contest to second-degree murder as a juvenile and got probation.

He continued to get in trouble, and when he was 19 and aged out of the system, the judge “reluctantly discharged him” because he had no choice, the federal court document said.

In 2018, Sturgis was convicted of stealing a car, fleeing and eluding, and a felony controlled substance offense.  Despite his history, the court designated him as a youthful trainee under HYTA (Holmes Youth Trainee Act) and sentenced him to three years probation and two years in custody.

The memorandum goes on to say:

►Once again, Sturgis did poorly on probation and received multiple violations for new criminal conduct involving firearms, despite charges apparently not being filed. On February 24, 2020, Sturgis approached a vehicle, opened the passenger door, and pointed a gun at the victim. During a struggle over the firearm. it discharged, striking the victim in the arm. 

►On June 8, 2020, just two days before the first carjacking charged here, Sturgis pointed a gun at a female he knew who was in a car.  He tried to grab her phone from her lap, strangled her nd broke her fingernails before she was able to pull away."

"There is no denying that Sturgis had a troubled childhood, punctuated by committing a murder with his father. But there has not even once been a hint of reform in Sturgis, nor any suggestions of remorse for his prior conduct or crimes he has admitted to here," prosecutors concluded. 


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