The Washington Post

Teen pleads guilty in Rockville shooting

A teenager involved in an after-school dispute that led to a double shooting at the Rockville Metro station pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder and a gun charge Monday.

Kevin Nguyen, 17, was a student at Montgomery County’s Richard Montgomery High School. His lawyer, Thomas M. DeGonia II, said he is seeking a sentence in the range of five to nine years, while Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said his office would seek a sentence “substantially in excess” of that.

The maximum total sentence for both offenses is 50 years.

Nguyen spoke in a hushed tone to Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Mary Beth McCormick as he admitted to shooting his intended victim four times in the leg, abdomen and groin.

The 16-year-old victim’s mother, Sheila Rowley, said her son has permanent nerve damage in his right leg. He has undergone counseling and “has issues with walking,” she said. “Long-term standing or sitting causes numbness. It’s something he’s dealing with.”

Had the bullets hit just “to the left or right in either direction, we would have had to bury our child,” said the victim’s father, D.C. police officer Leo Cannon III.

The incident began, McCarthy said, because two “groups of young men had a beef with each other and it acted itself out” at a Metro station, putting dozens at risk.

Nguyen told police that on May 17 he heard a teenager had threatened to rob him. The following afternoon, according to police, Nguyen and a fellow student from Richard Montgomery, Tavares Harris, and others went to the Rockville Metro station to track the victim down.

Harris was carrying a handgun in a bag. When Nguyen saw the victim, he told police, he grew angry and demanded that Harris “give me the gun, give me the gun, I am going to shoot him.”

Police said Nguyen walked toward the victim and said: “I heard you wanted to rob me.”

“Yeah, what are you going to do about it?” the victim responded, according to the police report.

Nguyen told police that he pulled the slide back and fired multiple shots.

“Nguyen said several times during the interview that he wanted to kill” the teenager, according to a police report.

A bystander was also shot.

Harris was found guilty of first-degree assault and a gun charge last week.

Mike Laris came to Post by way of Los Angeles and Beijing. He’s written about the world’s greatest holstein bull, earth’s biggest pork producer, home builders, the homeless, steel workers and Italian tumors.

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