GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — A High Point man accused of shooting a Kernersville officer in the face was sentenced in federal court on Thursday afternoon to 20 years in prison.
Kernersville Police Department Officer Sean Houle was shot on Feb. 21, 2021, in the face, arm and hand when 39-year-old Quinton Donnell Blocker stole his gun, police say.
In April, Blocker pleaded guilty to two federal charges: possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a stolen firearm. One of the guns was his own, and one was Houle’s.
Blocker was sentenced to two consecutive sentences, totaling 240 months (20 years), on the two federal gun charges on Thursday along with three years of supervised probation afterward.
Blocker still awaits attempted first-degree murder charges, among other charges, for the assault, which will be heard by a state judge later.
During the hearing, Blocker’s attorney tried to make the argument that Blocker’s charge of first-degree attempted murder should be reduced to second-degree murder due to lack of evidence that the shooting was premeditated.
A psychologist also testified to Blocker’s mental state at the time of the incident, saying Blocker had a mixture of crystal meth and crack cocaine in his system which can increase someone’s impulses and give them “control problems.”
He explained that this mixture impeded Blocker’s decision-making on that night, therefore, the shooting could not have been premeditated.
He also stated that Blocker later told him that “This would never had happened if I wasn’t high.”
The federal judge ruled that since two shots were fired, there was milliseconds of premeditation, and he would not reduce the charge.
He also stated that Houle, despite his injuries and gaps in memory, was incredibly credible with backing from video evidence.
Blocker’s sentences are set to run back-to-back.
Houle was emotional when he took the stand in court and detailed the incident.
When asked about the impact the decision had on him, Houle said that giving his testimony was nerve-wracking but liberating and allows him to take a much larger step in moving forward.
Houle said that on the night he was shot, he was giving another person a ride home when he attempted to arrest a suspect he saw that was known to the Kernersville Police Department.
A struggle ensued.
“I’m yelling in my head. ‘No,’ you know, like, ‘no, this can’t happen this way. It’s not supposed to happen this way,’” Houle said. “I’m there that night, and I’m kind of just hovering above myself, and…I’m seeing, you know, things unfold, and I’m seeing me laying there.”
A few months after the shooting, he said his faith and the desire to get back to his family kept him going.
“I’m not going to be the guy who they look at me and they hear me talk angrily about the situation or express hate toward a person or anybody about the situation,” Houle said. “That would do the opposite of what’s been done, that would undo everything that’s been done.”
Doctors at the time said Houle had a “unicorn-style” injury, and that the projection of the bullet caused a rare style of injury.
Houle and his K9 Jax both retired at the end of 2021, but Houle says he found a new purpose: telling his story about his brush with death to other officers at different police departments around the country.
The class is called “Leading in the Trenches.” Houle goes around to different police departments to tell his story. “The story is a big part of it because what we’re also trying to instill is that life is short, and we need to really be intentional about where we place things in order in our life,” he said.
In the wake of his shooting and recovery, Sean Houle has become a staunch advocate for donating blood, holding multiple blood drives in the year and a half since he was hurt.
“You can look at that bag knowing that that bag right there is going to save someone’s life one day. It saved mine, and I needed it,” Houle said ahead of a blood drive held for the anniversary of the shooting back in March.