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Road-raging felon punished for shooting pregnant woman in the back of the head as she ‘simply rode in a car’

Tyler Mack Kirby, Maya Sherrod

Tyler Mack Kirby (Garner Police Department), Maya Sherrod (Miami-Dade Corrections), image of shooting damage (WRAL screengrab)

A convicted felon who grabbed a gun and opened fire while fueled by road rage last summer and hit a pregnant woman in the back of the head will spend the next decade in federal prison.

Tyler Mack Kirby, 27, could have faced even more prison time for the “act of senseless violence,” but the victim identified by cops as 25-year-old Maya Angelou Sherrod survived and gave birth to her “very healthy” and happy “miracle baby” named Gio, Sherrod’s mother told WRAL.

Sherrod was a passenger in the back seat of a vehicle on New Bern Avenue in Raleigh on Aug. 25, 2022 when “[o]ccupants of Kirby’s vehicle began arguing with occupants of a second vehicle over perceived driving errors,” as the U.S. Department of Justice put it in a press release on the outcome of the prosecution.

“After the argument ensued, Kirby fired a single gunshot into the back of the second vehicle where a pregnant woman was a passenger,” the DOJ said. “The bullet traveled through the headrest and struck the passenger in the head.”

Court records show that the defendant pleaded guilty on May 11. The feds said that Kirby fled the scene of the crime and destroyed evidence before he was arrested by the Garner Police Department.

According to the indictment from December 2022, upon being convicted Mack had to forfeit “All Winchester 9mm Luger ammunition and all gun pieces.”

More Law&Crime coverage: Woman killed in apparent road rage incident after husband ‘flipped off’ another driver

Court records reflect that Kirby was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Tuesday, a sentence that will run concurrent with “any” state sentences that are handed down in two other cases. The DOJ noted that those cases involve charges for discharging a weapon into occupied property, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, fleeing or eluding arrest, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Kirby was also sentenced to serve three years of supervised release after he gets out of prison.

“This felon shot a pregnant woman in the back of the head in an act of senseless violence while she simply rode in a car,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Michael Easley said in a statement. “Make no mistake, this U.S. Attorney’s Office will take action against any felon who engages in gun violence in Raleigh or beyond. We are partnering with law enforcement to prioritize prosecutions against dangerous trigger-pullers who illegally use and carry guns.”

Maya Sherrod’s mother told WRAL that the family believes Kirby should have received a longer sentence.

“I’m crying because this is very overwhelming, we went through so much,” she reportedly said. “I have PTSD from this, I am disappointed he only got 10 years. My daughter has had a really hard time with what happened.”

Maya Angelou Sherrod was arrested last March while on vacation in Florida, where the 25-year-old allegedly left her 1-month-old baby son alone in a Miami Beach hotel room for two hours. Miami court records indicate that the felony child neglect case is still open but that there has been no docket activity since late May.

CBS News Miami reported that the case arose after hotel staff asked Sherrod to move her car out of a “no parking zone.” Sherrod allegedly failed to return for two hours even as staff heard the baby crying for more than an hour.

Sherrod told responding cops that was looking for parking over the course of those two hours and didn’t want to move the baby out of the room because he was sleeping and it was hot outside, the report said.

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.