VALDOSTA – A former Valdosta State University student has been sentenced after pleading guilty to bringing a gun on campus during a protest in May 2015.
Eric Sheppard pleaded guilty to one count of carrying a weapon in a school safety zone one year after the incident occurred.
Sheppard was sentenced Monday to three years probation, a $2,000 fine, and 120 hours of community service. Sheppard must also pay $1,036 in restitution to Lowndes County. The sentence also bans him from the VSU campus.
In April 2015, VSU police discovered a handgun in a book bag left on campus following a demonstration in which Sheppard attended.
Investigators later linked the gun to Sheppard through a purchase receipt from a pawn shop, according to police reports.
Sheppard was part of a group which held several protests in which an American flag was placed on the ground and repeatedly walked on. The protests gained national attention after Air Force Veteran and former Playboy model Michelle Manhart was briefly detained but not arrested by campus police for taking the protesters’ flag during a demonstration.
Sheppard eluded police for a month and was arrested in Miami, Fla. in May 2015.
While he was on the run, Sheppard sent a rambling manifesto to the Valdosta Daily Times claiming to be a “terrorist toward white people.”