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Teen Guilty of Shooting Port Arthur Man During Carjacking

BEAUMONT, Texas – A Port Arthur man has pleaded guilty to federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei today.

Charles Robert Knatt, 19, pleaded guilty to carjacking and use of a firearm during a crime of violence today before U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone.

“Today’s guilty plea represents another step forward in getting justice for the victim of this senseless and violent crime,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.  “I am thankful for the hard work of the Port Arthur Police Department and the ATF in helping bring this case to a successful conclusion.”

According to court documents, on March 15, 2021, law enforcement officers responded to a carjacking and shooting in Port Arthur and found a man shot in the arm at his residence.  The victim told officers he remote-started his truck from his home before leaving for work at 4:30 a.m.  As he left his residence, he was approached by Knatt, who was armed with a gun.  Knatt demanded money from the victim and the keys to his truck.  Knatt gave the keys to an accomplice, who entered the driver’s seat, while Knatt entered the passenger side of the truck.  The victim ran back to his house and began to ring his doorbell, at which point Knatt exited the truck and shot him.  Security cameras at the victim’s home captured the carjacking and shooting on video.  Three days later, Knatt turned himself in to police after seeing news reports about the carjacking and shooting.  Knatt admitted to law enforcement that he stole the victim’s keys and shot him.

Knatt was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 6, 2021.  He faces up to life in federal prison.  The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.  A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

This case is being investigated by the Port Arthur Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Quinn.