Man sentenced to 44 years in prison for 2020 Westgate shooting

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A 23-year-old man was sentenced Friday to 44 years in prison for the May 2020 shooting at Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale that injured three people.

Armando Hernandez pleaded guilty in April to two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Dozens of other counts were dismissed under a plea agreement.

The 44-year prison sentence handed down by Judge Roy Whitehead on Friday was the maximum allowed under the plea agreement. Some of the shooting victims and their families made statements at the hearing.

"What we have here is an individual who has had mental health issues and continues to have mental health issues, who went out and obtained a semi-automatic weapon, took that weapon to a public populated location and committed a senseless act of violence on innocent victims, trying to gain some type of respect," Whitehead said moments before sentencing Hernandez.

"His actions are reprehensible, horrific and senseless," he continued. "It's not okay."

ON BACKGROUND: A timeline of the May 20 Westgate shooting, as detailed by police records and video

On the evening of May 20, 2020, Hernandez strode through the open-air mall carrying an AR-15 in one hand and a phone in the other.

He first opened fire outside a Johnny Rockets restaurant. He injured a teen couple, hitting a 16-year-old girl in the leg and a 19-year-old man in the chest. He then shot a 30-year-old woman in the parking lot — an encounter he filmed on his phone and posted on Snapchat.

All three people injured in the shooting survived.

Hernandez surrendered to police soon after the shooting.

Hernandez, who was 20 at the time of the shooting, told police he wanted to shoot at least 10 people who were in couples around his own age, according to a 250-page police report. He also described himself as an "incel," telling police he defined the term as "someone who cannot get attention or relationships from other people," the report said.

He told police his plan was to aim for their legs and never their heads because his intent wasn't to kill anyone, according to the report.

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Republic reporter Bree Burkitt and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Reach the reporter at or follow her on Twitter @curtis_chels.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Man gets 44 years in prison for 2020 Westgate shooting in Glendale