Gunman sentenced to 20 years for shooting man during Port Arthur carjacking

A Port Arthur man has been sentenced to federal prison for violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.

Charles Robert Knatt, 20, pleaded guilty on August 11, 2021, to carjacking and use of a firearm during a crime of violence and was sentenced to 240 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone.

According to court documents, on March 15, 2021, law enforcement officers responded to a carjacking and shooting in Port Arthur where they found a man shot in the arm at his residence.  The victim told officers that as he walked out of his house to go to work, he was approached by an unknown male – later identified as Charles Knatt – who was armed with a gun.  Knatt forced the victim to his knees and pointed a pistol at the victim’s head demanding money and the keys to his truck.  When the victim gave Knatt his keys and wallet, Knatt got in the victim’s truck and backed out of the driveway.  The victim attempted to run inside his house, however his front door was locked and he could not get in due to Knatt stealing his keys. The victim began to franticly ring his doorbell and beat on the door in order to wake his wife and get inside the house, at which point Knatt exited the truck and fired several shots at the victim, striking him one time in the arm.  Security cameras at the victim’s home captured the carjacking and shooting on video.  Three days later, Knatt turned himself in to police after seeing news reports about the carjacking and shooting.  Knatt admitted to law enforcement that he stole the victim’s truck and shot him.  Knatt was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 6, 2021. 

“Make no mistake about it, there are predators out there like this guy,” said U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston.  “The Port Arthur Police and ATF have joined forces to stop violent offenders and we will pursue each one until they are in jail.”  

“Working with our local, state, and federal partners is the most effective way to combat violent crime,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski.  “This case sends a very clear message to those using firearms in crime and creating a threat to the public that law enforcement will work together at every level to keep the public safe.”

“I would like to thank United States Attorney Brit Featherston and his staff, Beaumont ATF, the dedicated women and men of the Port Arthur Police Department and citizens of Port Arthur for collectively bring this case to a successful conclusion,” said Port Arthur Police Chief Tim Duriso.  “Hopefully, the conclusion of this senseless and violent crime gives the victim and his family closure, and assures the public, law enforcement is working diligently to ensure their safety.” 

This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

This case was investigated by the Port Arthur Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Quinn.

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