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Etienne faces first-degree attempted murder charges

8/12/2005 - Boxing

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Police said heavyweight boxer Clifford
Etienne held up a check cashing business, fired a shot when a clerk
failed to move fast enough and pulled a gun on officers as he tried
carjack two different vehicles with children inside.

Etienne, who took up boxing while serving a prison sentence for
armed robbery, was arrested Wednesday night as he tried to escape
when the car he was driving ran up on a curb. He was being held
Thursday in lieu of a $70,000 bond, according to the East Baton
Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office.

The 33-year-old was charged with one count each of attempted
first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder of a police
officer, and two counts each of armed robbery and second-degree
kidnapping.

Police spokesman Sgt. Don Kelly said Etienne allegedly fired one
shot when a clerk failed to move fast enough during the robbery of
the check cashing business Wednesday night. After running away with
an undisclosed amount of cash, he tried to carjack a young woman
with two children in her car, then a man who also had two children
in his car, all while police chased him.

A police affidavit said Etienne allegedly stole $1,978 from the check-cashing business.

"At various times he pointed his gun at the police officers and
the man in the second carjacking," Kelly said.

Kelly said Etienne tried to fire twice, but the gun
malfunctioned.

While serving a 40-year sentence at two Louisiana prisons,
Etienne won the state prison boxing championship. He was paroled in
1998 after serving 10 years and became a professional boxer.

He is best known for being knocked out by Mike Tyson in 49
seconds in 2003.

During the final days of his second term in January 2004, Gov.
Mike Foster denied a pardon to Etienne, citing the violence of his
crimes. During a robbery spree with three other men in the 1980s,
Etienne shot one man in the arm, then took two others to a remote
soybean farm, forced them to strip and robbed them of about $1,000
and a gold watch.