GULFPORT -- A 30-year-old Gulfport man will serve 20 full years in prison for an armed robbery that led to gunfire after a holdup at a Long Beach bank.
Austin Maurice Hubbard is one of two men arrested after a heist Sept. 12, 2014, at the Hancock Bank branch on Beatline Road and a pursuit that ended in Gulfport. His accomplice also has been sentenced.
Hubbard pleaded guilty Monday in Harrison County Circuit Court.
Judge Chris Schmidt sentenced Hubbard to 30 years in prison and suspended 10 years, leaving 20 to serve without eligibility for early release.
Had the case gone to trial, the state was prepared to present evidence including video that showed Hubbard and Javaris Darnell Dixon robbing the bank of $3,300, Assistant District Attorney Crosby Parker said.
The men were armed and wore masks as they jumped over the counter and forced a teller to take money out of a cash drawer, Parker said.
Two Long Beach city employees saw the getaway car, called 911 and followed it.
Hubbard, armed with a 9 mm handgun, leaned out of the vehicle and fired two shots at them, Parker said. No injuries were reported.
Long Beach police joined the pursuit, which ended with the help of Gulfport police.
Hubbard and Dixon abandoned their vehicle on Bullis Avenue in Gulfport but were caught by a K-9 team in nearby woods.
Hubbard's family this week asked the judge to consider his prior military service before imposing his sentence.
Parker said he told the judge Hubbard's actions were "brutally violent" and everyone Hubbard came in contact with, including innocent bystanders, "were put in jeopardy of serious injury or death."
Judge Roger Clark had imposed the same prison term for Dixon, 30, in September.