Man who shot postal worker sentenced to 16 years
An Elk Grove Village man who pleaded guilty in federal court to attempted second-degree murder in the 2018 shooting of a postal worker was sentenced Friday to 16 years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly sentenced Cameron Ruebusch, 26, during a 90-minute hearing held via video conference.
Kennelly said he considered various factors, including troubling issues in Ruebusch's background, in reaching the sentence, but he described the shooting of Stephen Casazza Jr. of Arlington Heights as a "horrendous crime."
"You can only thank God Mr. Casazza wasn't killed. It was just dumb luck, basically," Kennelly said before imposing the sentence.
Casazza was "minding his own business, doing his job" on Dec. 31, 2018, when Ruebusch came out of his house on the 200 block of West Brantwood Avenue with a loaded gun and shot him, Kennelly said.
"He fired multiple shots from close range," said Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Chester Choi. "He shot to kill and almost succeeded."
Casazza was in an unmarked delivery van in the quiet neighborhood. One bullet passed through the back of his right shoulder and into his wrist, according to court records.
Testimony showed that Casazza's right arm is still impaired, he is unable to return to work, and he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Casazza, Kennelly said, will have "psychological issues for a long time."
Testimony showed Ruebusch had problems with drugs and alcohol, and he had been severely beaten the day before the shooting and later discovered his residence was ransacked.
In a statement before the sentencing, Ruebusch said he's filled with horror and sorrow every day for the "ghastly impact of my blind rage."
He also apologized to Casazza, who did not speak during the hearing, for the "unspeakable pain" he had caused.
Ruebusch faced a minimum 10 years and could have gotten considerably more. Discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, to which he pleaded guilty, has a mandatory 10-year sentence.
The more serious charge of attempted second-degree murder of a United States employee, to which Ruebusch also pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal, had a suggested sentencing range of 10 to 12 years.
Kennelly wasn't bound by those parameters and could have gone higher or lower.
"It goes without saying, this was an extraordinary serious crime," he said.
Kennelly said Ruebusch had "a pretty serious anger management problem" in his past and had to take community protection into consideration.
"I think (the sentence is) justified, but by most people's measures, you'll still be a young man when you get out," Kennelly told Ruebusch, adding he recommended a residential drug and alcohol program.
Federal defendants must serve at least 85% of the sentence imposed, less any credits. Ruebusch will receive credit for the two years he already has served.