Canarsie pharmacy assailant sentenced to more than 10 years in prison

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A Brooklyn man was sentenced to just over 10 years of prison Thursday after pleading guilty to the attempted robbery of a Canarsie pharmacy — and the stabbing of an employee — three summers ago.

According to a court-issued complaint, Rayvaughn Williams entered the pharmacy on August 12, 2019, and claimed he was there to pick up a prescription. When the employee could not find his name in the records, Williams allegedly removed a knife from a bag he was carrying and demanded money. The victim then tried and failed to open the cash register, at which point Williams climbed over the counter and stabbed the employee. 

Williams was sentenced to 125 months in prison on July 7.

“Rayvaughn Williams tried to rob a neighborhood pharmacy and ended up senselessly, viciously attacking an innocent employee merely because he could not open the cash register fast enough,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace in a statement. “Today’s sentence sends a message that those who engaged in violence in our communities will be held accountable.”

“This sentencing brings yet another violent criminal to justice,” said John DeVito, special agent-in-charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “This atrocious and unwarranted violent attack on an innocent person is unacceptable. Fortunately, the victim survived due to the quick response of the EMTs and the investigative efforts of our partners at NYPD’s Brooklyn Robbery Squad. ATF will continue to work with our partners to keep our communities safe.”

Rayvaughn Williams sentenced to 125 months in prison
Rayvaughn Williams was sentenced to 125 months in prison for the attempted robbery of a Canarsie pharmacy during which he stabbed an employee in 2019.NYPD

A detailed statement from the victim included in court testimony explained that they had only been working at the store for a week and had not yet been trained on how to work the cash register.

“That Monday was when the pharmacy owner was going to train me on the cash register. So, when my attacker asked me to open the register, I had to use my knowledge from my previous store with the hope that it could work. Unfortunately, that fizzled out, and at the beep of the register, my attacker became apoplectic,” the employee’s statement read.

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell hopes Williams’ sentencing will help make Brooklyn streets safer.

“Violence will never be tolerated in our city, and actions must have consequences,” Sewell said in a statement. “Today’s sentence removes a career criminal with multiple arrests for armed robbery from our streets, and the people of Brooklyn can breathe a little easier. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and all of our own officers and detectives who brought this case to a successful conclusion.”

Detectives and agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tracked down Williams using surveillance footage, cellphone tower and Metrocard records, and he was arrested in July 2020. He later pleaded guilty to the crime.

Thursday’s verdict was handed down by United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.