Mesa Man Who Fired At FBI Office And Agent In 2020 Sentenced To Nearly 15 Years

Gabriel Arturo Manzo [Photo courtesy Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (April 2020)]

A Mesa man who claimed he fired multiple shots at an FBI special agent and the FBI Phoenix Field Office in 2020 at the direction of someone named Marco Polo who had kidnapped his children was sentenced Monday to 14.75 years in prison.

Gabriel Arturo Manzo must also complete three years of supervised release once his sentence is completed and must pay the U.S. government $98,780.75 for the damage he caused. He is to be given credit for the nearly three years spent in pretrial detention, Judge Steven P. Logan ordered.

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Manzo, 40, will likely not head to the Federal Bureau of Prisons just yet. He has a status conference next month in a Maricopa County courtroom on charges involving shootings directed at several houses and a hotel hours before Manzo opened fire on the FBI building.

Court records show it was around 1:30 p.m. on April 20, 2020, when Manzo parked his vehicle across from the FBI office located near Deer Valley Drive and 7th Street. He then walked to the security fence and proceeded to fire several shots at the building, damaging several windows.

After returning to his vehicle, Manzo drove a short distance before making a U-turn and getting out again. That is when he fired directly at FBI Special Agent G.M., who witnessed Manzo’s actions and began following Manzo’s vehicle.

The agent was able to return fire before Manzo got back into his vehicle and drove away.

At least 21 shots were fired by Manzo during the incident, while at two of the rounds fired by G.M. struck Manzo’s vehicle. Neither man was injured in the exchange of gunfire.

Manzo was taken into custody less than 30 minutes later while driving on Interstate 17 about 20 miles from the crime scene. Ballistics tests matched a Bursa Thunder .380 caliber handgun seized from Manzo’s vehicle with shell casings found at the crime scene.

After his arrest, Manzo told investigators he was coerced into shooting at the FBI building by two men he claimed said they had Manzo’s three minor children. There was no indication of any such kidnapping or threats, which may have been the product of Manzo’s use of methamphetamine that morning, according to court records.

A federal magistrate ordered Manzo “detained pending trial as a flight risk and a danger” due in part to his chronic user of meth.

In September 2022, Manzo accepted a negotiated plea deal and entered pleas of guilty to “intentionally firing several shots at FBI SA G.M.” and discharge of a firearm during a violent offense. The agreement stipulated Manzo would not be sentenced to more than 15 years in prison.

In a presentence memo, Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith Vercauteren asked Logan to impose the full 15 years.

“The violent nature and dangerous circumstances of Defendant’s actions justify a 15-year sentence in [Federal Bureau of Prisons],” Vercauteren wrote, adding that Manzo’s “erratic thoughts and severe methamphetamine abuse” make him a danger to the community.

In a defense sentencing memo, Manzo’s attorney did not dispute a 10-year sentencing guideline on the weapons charge but argued for less than 5 years on the assault of a federal agent charge.

The attorney, Faisal Ullah, also noted it was Manzo’s heavy meth use which led to his mental health issues and that Manzo has completed several self-improvement courses in the nearly three years he had been detained awaiting trial.

Logan imposed a total of 177 months, or 14.75 years, with credit for time served. Manzo has had strong family support throughout the case, leading the judge to recommend BOP place Manzo at a facility in or near Arizona, “or the southwest portion of the United States if Arizona is not available.”

However, concerns about Manzo’s future conduct also led to a rare remark by the judge during sentencing.

“The Court recommends to the Probation Office that a minimum of two probation officers be present when visiting the defendant once he is released from prison,” Logan said.

In the Maricopa County case, Manzo is charged with six felonies related to the discharge of his gun toward several buildings the morning of the FBI shooting. The case is scheduled for an April 11 status conference.

Any sentence that might be imposed by a Maricopa County judge will be served concurrently, or at the same time, with the federal sentence, Logan ordered.

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