FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — The alleged gunman in a high school shooting that wounded two teenage boys pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of first-degree assault and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Brandon Tyler, 22, fired at a group of rival gang members outside the Frederick High School gymnasium after a junior varsity basketball game on the night of Feb. 4, Frederick County Deputy State’s Attorney David Callahan said.
He said Tyler’s co-defendant Chandler Davenport identified Tyler as the shooter but detectives found no fingerprints or DNA on seven recovered, .38-caliber bullet casings, and there was no surveillance video of the shooting.
The victims, ages 14 and 15 at the time, gave investigators little or no help, Callahan said.
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“Gang cases are probably the most difficult to get a conclusion,” he said.
Tyler declined to address the court. His father Richard Tyler told his son during the hearing, “Never be ashamed of what happened.”
When asked by Judge Scott Rolle to explain his son’s involvement, Richard Tyler said, “We don’t even know if he did it.”
Rolle suspended another 18 years and ordered five years of supervised probation after Tyler’s release.
The convictions carried maximum prison terms totaling 50 years. Prosecutors dropped 11 charges in return for Tyler’s plea.
Davenport, 20, pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless endangerment in August. His sentencing is set for Jan. 6.
The older victim was shot in the leg and the younger one in the back.
“But for a couple of inches, this would have been a homicide case, a murder case,” Rolle said.
Prosecutors say Davenport, Tyler and several associates went to the school looking for rival gang members. He said Davenport went into the gym, prompting rivals to come out, some pulling on masks, just before the shooting.
The gunfire sent spectators running for cover as frantic parents rushed to the scene. About 200 players, faculty, staff and fans took shelter in the school cafeteria, where police questioned witnesses for several hours.
Rolle said the shooting caused people to feel unsafe in the city of 67,000 about 45 miles west of Baltimore.