Santa Fe Shooter Faces 15 Years in Prison After Guilty Plea

Santa Fe Shooter Faces 15 Years in Prison After Guilty Plea

James Chadwick Vickers. Sweetwater County Detention Center photo

ROCK SPRINGS – The man accused of shooting up the Santa Fe Southwest Grill restaurant recently pleaded guilty to the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, opening him to the possibility of 15 years in a federal prison.

James Chadwick Vickers entered his guilty plea Tuesday during a change of plea hearing. The plea is part of a plea agreement between Vickers and prosecutors, though the details of the agreement are not publicly available. A sentencing hearing before United States District Judge Scott Skavdahl is set to take place March 5, 2024, at 1 p.m. A trial was originally scheduled to take place Dec. 11.

The penalties Vickers faces are a prison sentence of up to 15 years and up to $250,000 in fines.

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Vickers walked into the Santa Fe Southwest Grill restaurant Sept. 9 armed with a .38 revolver and a 9mm handgun in a bag he carried with him. Vickers initially told arresting officers he fired his weapons in self-defense, claiming a group of unidentified armed assailants had walked into the restaurant. No one was injured in the incident and employees were able to evacuate patrons prior to Vickers’ arrest. According to the initial charging documents, arresting officers noted Vickers’ actions were “all over the place,” which included twitching hands and moving his jaw from side to side. Vickers told officers he was a methamphetamine addict who had used the drug a few days before the incident. When he was arrested, he was charged with felony-level drug possession offences as officers discovered felony amounts of oxymetholone, testosterone, nandrolone and drostanolone in his vehicle.

Overall, Vickers initially faced 10 different felony and misdemeanor charges in Sweetwater County. However, those charges were dismissed when the Sweetwater County Attorney’s Office received a federal warrant for Vickers following his initial appearance before Circuit Court Judge Criag Jones Sept. 11. U.S. marshals transported Vickers from Sweetwater County the next day.