A Catonsville High School student charged in connection with a shooting in the school’s parking lot received a 16-month sentence after pleading guilty Tuesday in Baltimore County District Court.
Sean Potter, 19, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree assault and possessing a firearm as a minor. He had been indicted on charges that included attempted murder and first-degree assault in the shooting of a 16-year-old boy, along with other firearms charges.
Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Dennis M. Robinson Jr. gave Potter a 16-month sentence Tuesday, followed by three years of supervised probation.
On Feb. 8, 2022, Potter drove a Volvo SUV to the high school, where a 16-year-old student was shot at about 3 p.m. after a physical fight, prosecutors said. The student was taken to Shock Trauma with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
The boy, who was shot in the arm, told police he was walking with a friend when people in the Volvo “displayed handguns to him,” police wrote in charging documents.
Police said surveillance footage showed people who emerged from the Volvo and others from a Toyota Corolla engaged in a confrontation. The footage showed a group of students playing lacrosse nearby scattering as if they had heard shots, charging documents said.
About 45 minutes after the first shooting, the Volvo dropped off a second shooting victim at St. Agnes Hospital, investigators said in charging documents.
Baltimore County prosecutor William Bickel said Potter did not shoot the 16-year-old and that authorities have not determined who did.
Bickel requested Potter receive an 18-month sentence, noting he didn’t help identify who carried out the shooting. “I certainly understand why he wouldn’t cooperate,” Bickel said, referring to an “epidemic” of not assisting police.
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Prosecutors dismissed charges against a second student arrested in connection with the shooting and no one else has been charged, Bickel said after Tuesday’s proceedings.
Defense attorney Joseph Murtha said Potter picked others up from a McDonald’s in his mother’s white Volvo and brought them to the school, comparing him to an Uber driver.
“He didn’t think there would be a shooting,” Murtha said. “There is no suggestion that he was involved in the shooting.”
Before Potter’s sentencing, his mother, Sabrina Potter, began to cry as she told the court that her son was generous, hardworking and responsible, someone she trusted to work by himself for her cleaning service.
“It’s heartbreaking to see my son in this situation,” she said. “He deserves the chance to make it in this world, to be a productive adult.”
Robinson credited Shock Trauma doctors with ensuring that the shooting didn’t become deadly.
He said other Catonsville High School students and parents were also victims in the shooting, given that going to school felt dangerous afterward. “Kids are supposed to feel safest at home, and school is a close second,” Robinson said.