A 26-year-old Massachusetts man was sentenced Friday in federal court in Portland to three years and a month in prison on gun charges stemming from an Old Port shooting.

Noor Mohamed, who shot a handgun in the Old Port in an altercation with another man in November 2016, still faces state charges, including two counts of attempted murder.

U.S. District Chief Judge Nancy Torresen told Mohamed that his life story – he and his mother fled Somalia, via Kenya and Uganda, to join his father in the U.S. 17 years ago – was “compelling,” but that he seemed to have chosen a life of crime since his early teens.

“I’ve been struggling with what to do here,” she told him, adding that it appeared he would end up “doing a life sentence on the installment plan.”

Mohamed was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The sentence of 37 months was at the top of guidelines based on Mohamed’s crime and criminal history. His lawyer had asked for a sentence of 30 months, which would have been at the low end of the guidelines. Mohamed has an official address of Roxbury, Massachusetts, but has spent considerable time in Maine, where he was jailed in 2014 after being convicted of drug and firearms charges.

At his sentencing in York County on drug and gun charges in 2014, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Joyce said, Mohamed told a judge that he would turn his life around. Yet when he headed to the Old Port for a night out less than a year after his release, he carried a gun, Joyce said.


“This is a very predictable result,” Joyce told Torresen.

Mohamed’s attorney, David Beneman, said his client knew “his credibility is tarnished” by prior claims that he would turn his life around. But, Beneman said, Mohamed should have been sentenced to a probationary period, so he could have had guidance after re-entering society. Instead, he faced the same situation as when he entered jail.

“When he walked out of York County Jail (in December 2015) nothing had changed,” he said.

Officials said they aren’t sure what led to the altercation between Mohamed and another man, although there are suggestions it might have been racially motivated.

Torresen said Mohamed had two opportunities to defuse the situation, starting with when he went to his car while the other man in the dispute walked off. But, she said, Mohamed then encountered the man again, and the fight resumed.

Mohamed grabbed his gun and shot, she said. A bullet grazed the sweater of a man who wasn’t involved in the fight, but no one was hurt in the shooting.


“But for the grace of God,” she said, “you missed him,”

Police arrested Mohamed nearby on Pearl Street. He had driven his car over a curb, disabling it, and ran off when police arrived.

Mohamed tearfully told Torresen that he accepted responsibility for what he had done and wanted to get mental health counseling.

But Torresen said she had been leaning toward giving Mohamed a longer sentence than the guidelines called for because of his criminal history and the seriousness of the crime.

She also noted that Mohamed will be subject to supervision on his release from prison and warned him that he would face more penalties if he doesn’t use that time to get his life in order.

“You are pretty much out of straws,” she said.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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