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Barbershop robbery suspect wounded by cop now faces federal charges

An alleged armed robber shot in the face by a Newark police officer this spring now faces a new kind of pain: federal charges.

Phillip Hedgespeth. (Essex County Correctional Facility)

Federal prosecutors have charged Philip K. Hedgespeth, 43, with armed robbery in violation of federal law, possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and brandishing a firearm during a violent crime, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Investigators said Hedgespeth, in a brief confrontation caught on surveillance video in May, tried to rob a barbershop in the 400 block of Orange Street at gunpoint when the barber and his customer fought back.

The customer, it turned out, was an off-duty city police officer who drew his gun and shot Hedgespeth in the face during the struggle, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said at the time.

Hedgespeth fled the scene, authorities said, but was apprehended in the 1100 block of McCarter Highway and jailed after being treated for his wounds.

He admitted to arresting officers that he’d attempted to fire a warning shot when his own gun malfunctioned, according to the federal criminal complaint.

The county prosecutor’s office initially charged Hedgespeth at the state level with robbery and weapons offenses.

The federal charge of brandishing a firearm during a violent crime carries a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison upon conviction, while the robbery charge carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years.

Hedgespeth, who is being represented by the Federal Public Defender’s Office, made his first appearance in federal court Wednesday morning. He’s been detained without bail, prosecutors said.

Thomas Moriarty may be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @ThomasDMoriartyFind on Facebook

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Author Since: Sep 20, 2018