Rockville Metro station shooter sentenced to prison

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Local,Maryland,Crime,Naomi Jagoda,Montgomery County

A Rockville teenager who shot two other teens last year at the Rockville Metro station has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Kevin Nguyen, 17, was sentenced Wednesday in Montgomery County Circuit Court. He was charged as an adult and pleaded guilty in December to attempted second-degree murder and the use of a handgun during a crime of violence.

On May 17, 2012, one of the victims, a boy who was then 16 years old, was heard threatening to rob Nguyen. That night, Nguyen and other teenagers who belonged to a local crew met to form a retaliation plan, according to court documents.

The next afternoon, Nguyen and his group went to the Rockville Metro station, and Nguyen fired at the boy. The victim tried to flee by running through the station tunnel, but Nguyen continued to fire at him until he collapsed.

A then-19-year-old woman who was not part of either group of friends was also struck by a bullet during the incident.

When Nguyen spoke to police after the shooting, he said several times that he wanted to kill the male victim, according to court papers.

That victim's mother, Sheila Rowley, said in court Wednesday that her son has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and still has a bullet fragment lodged in him.

"My son will suffer for the rest of his life physically and emotionally," she said.

The bystander who was shot, Wasima Gary, said in court that since the shooting, she is always looking at her surroundings.

"I think about it every day," she said.

A prosecutor asked for a 50-year prison sentence. But a lawyer for Nguyen asked that he only spend five years incarcerated, saying that a 50-year sentence would ensure that the defendant would emerge from prison as a hardened criminal.

Nguyen apologized to the victims as well as to his family. The defendant, who stands 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs about 120 pounds, said that "accepting responsibility is a step to becoming a man."

When Judge Mary Beth McCormick handed down the sentence, stressed that Nguyen intended to kill and that violence cannot be tolerated in the community.

"This county, this country, deserves protection from people like you," the judge said.

McCormick recommended that Nguyen serve time at the Paxtuent Institution, which has a program for younger offenders.

The teen who provided Nguyen with the gun, Tavares Harris, was convicted of first-degree assault and a handgun offense. Harris is scheduled to be sentenced on June 14. Both Nguyen and Harris were students at Richard Montgomery High School at the time of the incident.

njagoda@washingtonexaminer.com

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