A Wichita man who opened fire inside the Burlington Coat Factory store in east Wichita last summer avoided a prison sentence Thursday but will have to spend 60 days in a jail work-release program, a Sedgwick County judge ruled Thursday.
Jake L. Jacobs, 27, pleaded guilty in April to two counts of aggravated assault in a plea agreement that saw prosecutors dismiss two similar charges.
Jacobs was described by his lawyer as a meth addict who had consumed contaminated drugs and was hallucinating at the time of the crime. He said his client has since successfully completed a drug treatment program.
Wichita police said at least 20 customers were inside the store on the morning of Aug. 13 when Jacobs took a Sprite from a refrigerated case and pulled a gun from his waistband when a store guard asked if he was going to pay for it.
Police said Jacobs fired a shot at the guard that missed, then pointed the gun at three other people in the store. Wichita police responding to an “active shooter” call arrested Jacobs after a brief struggle inside the store.
Defense lawyer Mark Schoenhofer said his client suffered broken teeth, a broken jaw and several broken ribs as he was being arrested.
“The only physical injuries sustained in the incident were sustained by my client, and they were severe,” Schoenhofer said.
Jacobs told sentencing Judge Ben Burgess that he could not explain his actions inside the store on the day of the crime.
“I lost control of my life; I was addicted to meth,” he said. “I can never express how remorseful I am. … It was terrible thing for anyone to have to experience.”
Although prosecutors argued that Jacobs should be sent to prison, Burgess settled on the lighter sentence, citing the fact that Jacobs had no criminal history and that he has been able to comply with all requirements of a pre-trial release program since being released on bond nine months ago.