JANESVILLE

A Beloit man charged in a nonfatal shooting over a drug deal Dec. 7 in Janesville pleaded guilty Thursday in Rock County Court.

Virgil L. Tate, 26, accepted a plea agreement from the Rock County District Attorney’s Office and pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree recklessly endangering safety in the shooting. He also pleaded guilty to a charge of delivery of cocaine in connection with a September 2018 incident.

In the shooting case, Tate avoided a first-degree attempted intentional homicide charge with the plea agreement. The sentence for the drug charge from 2018 included three years in prison and three years of post-release supervision.

As part of the plea agreement, a sentence of six years of probation for the shooting was withheld.

Rock County Judge Barbara McCrory said Thursday that Tate will be eligible for substance abuse treatment in prison because of his young age and past drug history.

Tate declined to speak before sentencing.

On Dec. 7, 2019, Tate and another man were in a vehicle in a gas station parking lot in the 3000 block of South Highway 51 when a man who was upset about a narcotics transaction fled the area with the drugs, according to court records.

Tate got out of the vehicle and chased the man before firing multiple shots. The victim then jumped onto a moving vehicle and was transported to a hospital, but he did not go into the hospital until the morning after the shooting, according to court records.

Tate fled the area and was arrested in Chicago on Jan. 4

McCrory said Thursday she thought Tate’s behavior in the shooting was “an anomaly,” citing his lack of a criminal record and past drug addiction.

On April 17, Ronald L. Hicks, 34, pleaded guilty to first-degree recklessly endangering safety as party to a crime in connection with the shooting and was sentenced to two years in prison and two years of post-release supervision.

Under a plea agreement, Hicks was granted 253 days of credit for timed served.