Teenage Rockville Metro station shooter pleads guilty

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Local,Crime,Naomi Jagoda

A 17-year-old boy who shot two teens at the Rockville Metro station in May has pleaded guilty.

Kevin Nguyen, of Rockville, pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder and use of a handgun during a crime of violence in Montgomery County Circuit Court on Monday. He was charged as an adult, faces up to 50 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 12.

On May 17, one of the victims, a 16-year-old boy, was heard threatening to rob Nguyen, according to court documents. Nguyen and others who belonged to a local crew then met to develop a plan to retaliate.

NGUYEN

The next afternoon, Nguyen and his group went to the Metro station after school, and encountered the victim and his friends. Nguyen, armed with a gun, approached the boy and said, "I heard you wanted to rob me." The victim then replied, "Yeah, what are you going to do about it?" according to a statement Nguyen gave to police.

Nguyen then fired at the teenage boy. When the victim tried to flee by running through the tunnel, Nguyen chased after him and continued to shoot at him until he collapsed. A young woman who was not part of either group of friends was also struck by a bullet during the incident.

Both victims survived. The 16-year-old's mother said after Monday's court hearing that her son has permanent nerve damage in his right leg and still experiences some cramping. She denied that her son threatened to rob Nguyen.

"I'm pleased with the decision," the boy's mother said of Nguyen's choice to plead guilty. "Maybe young people will see that violence is not the way to go."

Last week, a jury convicted 18-year-old Tavares Harris, who provided Nguyen with the gun, of first-degree assault and use of a handgun during a crime of violence. Harris faces up to 45 years in prison on those charges.

"We encourage and we want people to use public transit. We want them to be able to do this safely, whether it's by rail or whether it's by bus," Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy said.

Nguyen and Harris were both students at Richard Montgomery High School at the time of the shooting. During the hearing, Nguyen answered the judge's questions with short answers, such as "yes, your honor" and "no, your honor."

njagoda@washingtonexaminer.com

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