Last Updated on June 16, 2024 2:58 pm

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – A Whittier, N.C. man has been sentenced following his conviction for possession of a firearm during an assault on the Blue Ridge Parkway, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Evan William Blankenship, 23, was sentenced to 120 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to possession and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. 

Debra A. Flowers, Acting Chief Ranger of the Blue Ridge Parkway, joins U.S. Attorney King in making the announcement. 

According to court documents and court proceedings, in the early morning hours of September 28, 2023, L.P. and a second victim, L.M., were sitting in a parked vehicle at Water Rock Knob Overlook off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Blankenship drove his vehicle to where the victims were located and pointed a semi-automatic pistol at them. He tried to pull L.P. out of the vehicle by the hair and arm, threatened to harm both victims, and struck L.P. in the face, causing temporary hearing loss. Blankenship also fired his firearm into the air before pointing it again at the victims. 

L.M. eventually convinced Blankenship to let them go, and the victims reported the incident to law enforcement. Shortly thereafter. L.P. informed investigators that she knew Blankenship through Snapchat and believed he had used Snapchat’s location-sharing feature to find her on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

Blankenship was arrested on October 11, 2023, and has remained in federal custody since. He will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. 

U.S. Attorney King thanked the National Park Service for their thorough investigation and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance with the case. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex M. Scott, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville, prosecuted the case. 

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