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Two armed robbers shot by homeowner get five years in prison

Two armed robbers shot by a man whose son they had just held up while the man and his two sons were washing their car in their driveway last summer in Buffalo’s University District were sentenced Thursday to five years in prison.

Erie County Judge Kenneth F. Case sentenced Bernard Byrd III, 22, of Van Gorder Street, and Robert Moore, 29, of Theodore Street, in the July 28 holdup and shooting on Minnesota Avenue.

As John R. Hunt Sr., 50, and his sons were washing the family car at their home, one of the defendants pulled a gun on one of the sons, chased him into a nearby yard where he took a white-gold link necklace valued at thousands of dollars, along with $800 in cash, from the son, then fired a shot, police said.

The father went back into his home to retrieve his 9 mm handgun and returned outside, where both suspects pointed their guns at him, police said. Hunt fired at them, striking Byrd in the chest and Moore in the thigh.

Police arrested the two suspects who fled, and the stolen items were found on Byrd, Assistant District Attorney Paul C. Parisi told the court.

Byrd’s attorney, Daniel Grasso, told the judge that his client, who was hospitalized in serious condition after the shooting, still has a bullet in his chest, which he said was “a constant reminder of how close he came to dying that day.”

Both defendants apologized to the Hunt family and said they are trying to turn their lives around.

The judge noted that both Byrd and Moore had pleaded guilty in a prior robbery, but both had received youthful offender status because of their ages at the time, and as a result, do not have a felony record.

Despite getting that break, he said, they continued to commit robberies.

“But you later found out that there are people out there who are licensed to carry weapons” to defend themselves from criminals, the judge said.

He urged them to consider that fact when they are serving their five years in prison and to avoid committing any more holdups when they are released.

Both Byrd and Moore had pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. They had faced a maximum prison term of up to 15 years, according to District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III.