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‘Adults Should Be Protecting Children, Not Shooting Them’: Michigan Man Gets 40 Months to 15 Years In Prison for Shooting 6-Year-Old After Boy’s Ball Landed on His Property

A Michigan man will serve prison time for allegedly shooting a 6-year-old child for hanging on his lawn with his siblings. The judge was outraged at his actions saying, “Adults should be the ones protecting children not shooting at them.”

Ryan Le-Nguyen came out of his home as Coby retrieved his bike, and threatened the boy with a sledgehammer before returning inside his home and shooting him through a window. Photo Fox 2 screenshot

After pleading no contest in March to discharging a firearm in a building and causing injury to a young Black boy named Coby who was playing on his Ypsilanti Township property, Ryan Cuong Le-Nguyen was sentenced on April 14 by Washtenaw County Trial Judge Darlene O’Brien to 40 months to 15 years, MLive reports.

Before the sentencing, Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit addressed his mindset regarding Le-Nguyen’s plea deal, “The most important consideration in this case was, and remains, the well-being of the victim.”

“In that light, our office had multiple discussions with the victim’s family,” he wrote in an email.

“They expressed a desire to have the case resolved through a plea that would ensure a prison sentence without the uncertainty at trial — and would allow the children and families affected by the defendant’s actions to heal, without reliving the trauma through testimony in court proceedings. The plea agreement was made with the full support of the victim’s family.”

O’Brien told him his conduct was “reprehensible,” and said his sentencing was “appropriate” considering his assault on the boy.

“This was very reprehensible conduct,” she said at sentencing. “Adults should be the ones protecting children, not shooting at them.”

Le-Nguyen, following the advice of his lawyer Lillian Diallo, did not make a statement. Diallo did not deem it wise for him to say anything because the family has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the 30-year-old that needs to be seen in the court system.

On June 6, 2021, a witness testified during the examination, Le-Nguyen shot his 6-year-old next-door neighbor around 4:30 p.m., because a ball landed on his lawn after the kid and two other children, ages 10 and 11, were playing “monkey in the middle.”

The game is a throwing and catching game usually played in a classic schoolyard or street setting. One person is ‘it.’ They must stand in the middle of a circle (or in this case line) of the other players and the others have to throw a ball to one another while the person who is ‘it’ tries to intercept the ball, according to Group Games 101.

The children said the man came out of his home and kicked the ball into the street. At the time, he held up his hammer and waved it at the kids as he yelled for them to get off his lawn.

Witnesses said the children ran to grab the ball and then went to tell the victim’s older brother, an 11-year-old.

The big brother took Coby to the man’s front door. At the same time, the little boy spilled red Gatorade on the door. It startled the kids, and they ran away.

While the kids were running, they heard the gunshot and noticed that the youngest among them was shot through the back of his upper arm, inches away from his chest, by Le-Nguyen.

The incident was captured by a Ring camera and shows Coby screaming as his brother cries out.

In a panic, the children ran into their home on the 1300 block of Candlewood Lane and told their parents what happened. The parents then called the police. 

Le-Nguyen also called 911, not for Coby’s injury, but reported that someone tried to break into his house.

A year later, the boy is doing well, with no lingering injuries outside of scars from where the bullet went in and out of his arm.

Le-Nguyen is already incarcerated on a two-year felony firearms conviction. 311 days that he had already served before this recent sentence will be applied to it. He must complete that sentence before serving the 40-month to 15-year sentence.

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