- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) - A 19-year-old white woman was sentenced Tuesday to a year of supervised probation to resolve charges she shot two black high school athletes with a BB gun in what police initially classified as a hate crime.

Thurmont police said Kristen Myers yelled a racial slur before shooting the members of the Catoctin High School track team as they ran along the town’s Main Street on the evening of April 14. One was hit in the face and one in the ankle. Neither was seriously hurt.

The outraged mother of one boy insisted on charges. But the other victim characterized the slur as an accepted form of bantering between himself and Myers, a former Catoctin High cross-country runner.

The subsequent charges - two of second-degree assault and two of reckless endangerment - didn’t include hate crime allegations. Myers pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree assault in a June plea deal.

On Tuesday, Assistant State’s Attorney Michael J. Moore said neither victim considered race an issue.

“This wasn’t motivated by racism. It was motivated by stupidity,” Moore said.

Frederick County District Judge Earl W. Bartgis Jr. agreed the shooting wasn’t racially motivated. He cautioned Myers to avoid racially charged language.

“It’s very hurtful and it’s not an appropriate thing to do,” Bartgis said, “even if it’s a casual thing among friends.”

Myers wrote a two-page essay as part of her plea deal. The essay wasn’t publicly available Tuesday. She also must complete 100 hours of community service.

Myers didn’t address the court. She declined to comment afterward.

Her public defender, Peter Norris, said there was no hatred involved.


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