Times Chronicle & Public Spirit

Man sentenced for brandishin­g gun, making threats at Cheltenham store

- By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@pottsmerc.com

NORRISTOWN » A Philadelph­ia man faces several years of court supervisio­n and was ordered to stay away from a Walmart store in Cheltenham Township after police said he entered the store and made threats while brandishin­g a handgun, at one point allegedly stating, “I will shoot up this place.”

Ali Shafeeq Chapman, 25, of the 6300 block of Green Street, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to 11½ to 23 months in the county jail after he pleaded guilty to charges of firearms not to be carried without a license and terroristi­c threats in connection with a March 2021 incident at the Walmart store in the 1000 block of South Easton Road in Cheltenham.

Judge Thomas M. DelRicci, who accepted a plea agreement in the case, also ordered Chapman to complete three years of probation following parole, meaning Chapman will be under court supervisio­n for about five years.

As a condition of the sentence, the judge ordered Chapman to stay away from the Walmart store in Cheltenham.

The investigat­ion began about 6:56 p.m. March 31, 2021, when Cheltenham police were dispatched to the store located in the Wyncote section of the township for a report of a male

armed with a firearm. Employees of the store told arriving officers that a man came into the store armed with a firearm “threatenin­g to shoot people,” according to the criminal complaint filed by Cheltenham Police Officer Timothy Filoon.

Store employees told police they witnessed three male associates run into the store followed by the male holding a gun. A customer service host told police that the gun-toting man, later identified as Chapman, demanded that the three other males go back outside the store with him and stated, “I swear to God. I swear on my life that I will shoot up this place,” according to the criminal complaint.

“The male was reportedly holding a gun in his hand but then put the firearm in the back waistband of his pants,” Filoon alleged.

Witnesses reported when the male left the store he got into a gray Ford Explorer operated by a female. Police subsequent­ly conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle on eastbound Cheltenham Avenue and determined Chapman was the front seat passenger.

The female driver disclosed that there was a firearm located in her bag inside the vehicle.

Police subsequent­ly located a loaded Springfiel­d Armory XD 9mm firearm inside a bag that was found on the floor in front of the front passenger seat where Chapman was seated.

A witness was taken to the scene of the traffic stop and positively identified Chapman as the man she previously observed armed with a firearm at Walmart, according to court papers.

A background check confirmed that Chapman did not have a license to carry a firearm, according to the criminal complaint.

With the terroristi­c threats charge, prosecutor­s alleged Chapman caused terror or serious public inconvenie­nce with reckless disregard for the risk of his conduct.

Other charges of persons not to possess a firearm, possessing an instrument of crime, simple assault, recklessly endangerin­g other persons, harassment and disorderly conduct were dismissed against Chapman as part of the plea agreement.

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