16-year-old to be held without bail at juvenile facility for Rockville Metro shooting -- Gazette.Net


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This report was updated at 4:13 p.m. May 22, 2012.

A 16-year-old boy who police say shot an acquaintance at a Metro station Friday was ordered to be transferred to a juvenile detention center Tuesday where he will be held without bail.

Kevin Q. Nguyen, of the 300 block of North Van Buren Street in Rockville, will be detained at the Alfred D. Noyes Children’s Center, a regional detention center for juvenile offenders. Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorneys Marybeth Ayres and Patrick Mays had asked Judge Stephen P. Johnson to hold Nguyen, who is charged with attempted first-degree murder among other offenses, at the county’s adult facility.

“The defendant gave a full confession to the shooting at the Rockville Metro station and what was very [telling] to me was the matter-of-fact, almost adult way in which he discussed [the shooting],” Ayres told Johnson in her argument.

Thomas Degonia and Paul Kemp, Nguyen’s defense attorneys, argued that Nguyen’s size — he is 5 feet, 4 inches tall — and age would make him a target for inmates in an adult facility. More counseling options are also available at Noyes, Degonia added.

Degonia and Kemp plan to request a transfer of Nguyen’s case to juvenile court, Kemp said after Nguyen’s hearing.

Nguyen’s co-defendant, Tavares D. Harris, 17, of the 700 block of Falls Grove Drive in Rockville, was ordered held without bail Monday.

Both teens were arrested Friday evening after fleeing the shooting at 2:30 p.m. Nguyen was identified by eyewitness accounts and arrested at a gas station and Harris was arrested in the King Farm area of Rockville, according to charging documents filed in district court.

Nguyen and Harris, as well as the 16-year-old male victim, were affiliated with criminal street gangs, said Assistant State’s Attorney Peter Feeney at Harris’ hearing Monday.

Barry Helfand, one of Harris’ attorneys, denied Feeney’s statements, citing conversations with Harris’ mother, who appeared on his behalf in court but declined to comment on the case.

“This mother, who is god-fearing, twice a week going to church, tells me that her son is not in a gang to her knowledge, [that he] doesn’t start fights,” Helfand said.

According to charging documents, Nguyen and the 16-year-old male victim until recently were friends at Richard Montgomery High School. An altercation took place between Nguyen and the victim Thursday after school during which the victim told Nguyen he was going to rob him, the documents state.

Harris showed Nguyen a gun the next day, and the two, along with other students, went to the Metro station to confront the victim, the documents state. Nguyen took the gun from Harris and, after exchanging a few words with the victim, shot at the victim, striking him in the leg, groin and abdomen.

Nguyen also shot an 18-year-old female passerby in the buttocks, apparently by accident, before fleeing.

Both victims were taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Nguyen and Harris are both charged with attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a violent felony and first-degree assault, according to online court records.

jarias@gazette.net