JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 21-year-old man convicted of opening fire on an off-duty undercover detective and the detective's son during a traffic stop last year was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison.
Kevin Rojas must wait a minimum of 25 years before he can be considered for parole, the judge ruled. Rojas, who was wearing an orange jumpsuit and black mittens, declined to speak or have a witness speak before being sentenced.
The detective, who remains undercover and is not being named or shown on camera, was hit multiple times but survived. His son was not injured.
The detective spoke at Wednesday's sentencing hearing, calling Rojas a coward and saying, "Obviously that day changed my life, and it will never be the same."
“It only took for me to look away for one second, and he was already on top of me trying to kill me,” the detective said.
Rojas didn't speak for himself, but his attorney asked the judge to consider Rojas' challenging young life.
Rojas' family left the court Wednesday in tears.
Rojas, who was 19 at the time of the shooting, was convicted by a jury of one count of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, one count of attempted manslaughter, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of grand theft auto and one count of fleeing or attempting to elude police.
The detective testified he pulled Rojas over on Collins Road for driving erratically on March 9, 2016.
The detective was in the process of driving his teenage son to school.
Immediately after being stopped, Rojas got out of his vehicle and fired shots at the detective through the vehicle’s windshield, striking him once in the head, twice in the abdomen and once in the hand. The detective’s son was sitting in the passenger seat but was not hit.
Despite being shot, the detective got out of his vehicle and returned fire before Rojas ran off.
Nearby business workers ran over to help the detective until rescue arrived.
After running off, Rojas stole a truck. Other officers followed him into a nearby neighborhood, where he was caught after being shot.