A Baton Rouge man who exchanged gunfire with an off-duty police officer while trying to rob a grocery store last year pleaded guilty Wednesday and was sentenced to 20 years in prison without benefit of parole.
James Sterling, 23, pleaded guilty before state District Judge Mike Erwin to charges of attempted second-degree murder and attempted armed robbery.
Sterling walked into the Piggly Wiggly in the 3800 block of Choctaw Drive just after 8:30 p.m. on May 2, 2012, and tried to rob the store.
An off-duty officer wearing civilian clothes and working security at the store saw the attempted armed robbery and identified himself to Sterling as a police officer, police said.
Sterling, 1412 N. 31st St., fired at least two shots at the officer, who fired back.
Neither was injured.
Sterling ran from the store but was found later hiding in an area behind the store, prosecutor Sandra Ribes said.