Man charged in shooting after Center HS graduation gets probation instead of prison

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OLATHE, Kan. -- A man who pleaded guilty to a shooting outside of the Church of the Resurrection won't be going to prison for that crime.

Damon Gwinn shot an innocent bystander while targeting someone else after Center High School's graduation last May. That teen recovered.

Gwinn was charged with aggravated battery and reckless harm for the shooting. On Monday, the 21-year-old was sentenced to 36 months of probation.

The sentence was a surprise to many courtroom observers, especially because Gwinn was held in jail on a $250,000 bond because he was thought to be a danger to the public.

"I take full responsibility of my actions and I apologize," Gwinn said during sentencing. “The eight months I have spent here has been miserable. A lot of wasted time that I could have been out doing productive things."

Gwinn's defense attorney made a deal with the prosecutor for probation for a crime that usually carries a prison sentence.

He argued that Gwinn has no prior history of assault, had a god job building and repairing engine compressors and has a supportive family and two young children. One of those children was born when Gwinn was in jail, the baby just a month and three days old.

"I can't think of much more incentive for you to make it, stay straight if you get out on probation," Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan said.

The victim didn't show up in court to give an impact statement. With no one objecting to probation, Ryan went along with the plea deal and sentenced Gwinn to three years of intense probation.

Among other conditions, Gwinn cannot be around felons, guns, drugs or alcohol. He can't even go to places alcohol is served. The judge told Gwinn that includes restaurants and Chiefs and Royals games, among other places.

If Gwinn violates probation, he will go to prison for 32 months, which is almost three years.

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