GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - An Arkansas man who hid out in the Academy Sports in Gulfport, then hours after closing walked out of the store with two loaded shotguns, has pleaded guilty to an assortment of criminal charges: Armed Robbery, two counts of Kidnapping, and one count of Taking a Motor Vehicle.
Michael David Hamilton, 36, was given a 40 year sentence. Thirty of those years must be served in prison, followed by three years of post-release supervision.
Prosecutors said after Hamilton broke out of the locked store early on the morning of February 13, 2014, he walked to a nearby RV park, where he broke into a family's RV. With one of the shotguns in hand, he demanded food. The family fought him off and he ran from the scene.
Hamilton then walked across Interstate 10 to Channel Chemical, where he forced two employees to empty their pockets and demanded a vehicle. He then taped them to chairs with duct tape and locked them in a back building so he could get away in the stolen vehicle. He fled north on Highway 49.
"Due to the quick thinking and open communication between Gulfport Police and the Harrison County Sheriff's Office, Hamilton was quickly apprehended by deputies at the Robinwood Gas Station in Saucier a short time later," said ADA Alison Baker, who prosecuted the case.
The kidnappings were captured on surveillance video in place at Channel Chemical.
"It is hard to imagine the terror these two victims felt as they were taped down," said Baker. "Everyone was relieved it did not go further than it did."
During his plea Monday morning, Hamilton apologized to the victims for "ruining their lives." He further stated he knew what he did was wrong and accepted full responsibility.