Gilbert Earl Smith was sentenced to 32 years to life Wednesday for the robbery and attempted murder of a Brinks bank security guard, plus four years and four months for the previous armed robbery of a Walmart, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release.
On July 8, 2016, Smith dressed as a construction worker with a mask, bandanna and sunglasses covering his face and waited for a guard to exit the Golden 1 Credit Union branch in Southgate Plaza on Florin Road. When the guard walked out of the branch with a large sum of money, Smith approached him with a .40 caliber handgun and fired into his upper body.
Smith then wrestled the money from the guard, who shot the suspect several times despite his injuries, which were later determined to include an infected lung and a fractured rib that required multiple surgeries. Smith fled the scene but was arrested the day after the incident and convicted of attempted murder, armed robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm on March 5.
Five months earlier, Smith had entered a Walmart on Elk Grove Boulevard wearing a mask and gloves at 2:10 a.m. and gone into the cash room using a management key he had copied. He then pointed a semi-automatic pistol at an employee and threatened to kill him if he did not open the vault.
Smith left the mask behind as he fled, and forensic analysts linked DNA on the inside to him. He had been out on bail when he shot and robbed the Brinks guard.
Three robbery charges against Shenita Barnes, Smith’s then-girlfriend who worked at the Walmart he robbed, were dismissed Wednesday. Smith also had two robbery charges dismissed but pleaded no contest to the third and admitted he had personally used a firearm in the crime.
Smith’s extensive criminal history in Sacramento County includes four felonies related to selling drugs, a felony hit-and-run, possessing drugs while in prison and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel