The lawyer for a teen accused of firing into a crowd after an OKC Thunder basketball game says his client was acting in self defense. Avery Eugene Myers, 16, was charged with eight counts of shooting with intent to kill when he began firing into a crowd dispersing nearby Thunder Alley.
Details of the Shooting
Eight people were shot in the incident, leaving one victim critically injured and hospitalized for approximately one month. According to his attorney, Myers had been involved in two prior skirmishes on the evening of June 21. He says the teen feared for his safety after these events and began shooting as a crowd "closed in on him and his brother."
Prosecutors dispute that Myers was acting in self defense, saying that the young man went to his car to retrieve a gun and "fired it into a group of unarmed people." An Oklahoma City police detective testifying at a preliminary hearing said that Myers gave him at least three different versions of the events that happened that night.
Youthful Offender or Adult?
Because he is only 16 years old, Myers had been charged as a youthful offender in Oklahoma County District Court. During the preliminary hearings, a Juvenile Court judge will determine whether there is enough evidence for Myers to stand trial, and he will determine whether the teen will be tried as a juvenile, as a youthful offender, or as an adult.
This determination will greatly affect Myers's sentence if he is convicted:
- If convicted as a youthful offender, Myers could be held in a juvenile facility no longer than five months after his 18th birthday. If, during that time, he does not complete a treatment plan, he could be ordered to prison.
- If convicted as a juvenile, Myers could be held in a juvenile facility until his 19th birthday, at which time he would be released, regardless of whether or not he completes any treatment plan.
- If convicted as an adult, Myers faces up to life in prison for shooting with intent to kill. He will be required to serve at least 85% of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
Myers's actions on the night of June 21 changed the way many Oklahoma City Thunder fans watched and celebrated the games. Prior to the shooting, thousands of fans would gather outside the Chesapeake Energy Arena to watch the game projected outdoors on a large screen.
However, following the shooting, authorities became concerned about fan safety and crowd control. While they did not completely disband Thunder Alley, they began closing down the area at game time, dispersing the crowd and no longer displaying the game.