A US man sentenced to 358 years in prison has shocked authorities with a 'deplorable' tattoo depicting his intended targets.

Scott Sargent was convicted in October on several attempted murder charges, emanating from a shootout with police outside a Walmart in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 2015.

No one but Sargent was injured in the incident.

But it was only during the courtcase that the shocking nature of his intentions were revealed in a tattoo on his forearm, local TV station WNEP reported.

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"We learned that he received a tattoo with five tombstones with the names of his victims that survived his attack, with a skeleton skull over the tombstones," prosecutor Jarrett Ferentino revealed.

"I thought the tattoo was deplorable. I think it's disrespectful but it speaks volumes of who he is and what his intentions were that day."

The tattoo was taken into account in Sargent's sentencing, reports News.com.au.

According to prosecutors in the case, Sargent fired a number of shots at police before they returned fire.

They said he knew he was shooting at law enforcement because police officers were in uniform and in marked cars.

Sergeant's 'deplorable' tattoo depicting his intentions. Photo / WNEP
Sergeant's 'deplorable' tattoo depicting his intentions. Photo / WNEP

One of the officers involved in the attack Brian Bouton said he was disgusted by the tattoo.

"The rest of his life he has to look at our names on his arm and remind him that he's incarcerated and doesn't have the freedom and that he failed his mission," he said.

Officer Bouton's wife agreed.

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"That tattoo is very appalling. I'm very disturbed that someone could actually do something like that," Stacy Bouton said.

A judge at Luzerne County Courthouse ordered sentenced Sargent to a minimum of 179 years jail and a maximum of 358 years.

Earlier in the case Sargent's defence attorney said a "perfect storm" of drug abuse and mental illness led his client to open fire with a semi-automatic rifle outside the northeastern Pennsylvania shopping centre two years ago.

The (Wilkes-Barre) Citizens' Voice reported the defence argued that 33-year-old Sargent opened fire in "self-defence" because he felt he was being attacked by people following him.

Defence attorney Joseph Yeager said his client "had issues" with drugs, alcohol and mental illness and "at times ... was delusional and paranoid."

Luzerne County prosecutors said police exchanged fire with Sargent in the crowded Wilkes-Barre township parking lot near Walmart in October 2015, wounding him.

Assistant District Attorney Jarrett Ferentino said Sargent chose a "high traffic, high civilians, high terror" location and police were "outgunned."