A 19-year-old Buffalo man Wednesday was sentenced to 15 years in prison for firing four rounds from a revolver into a crowd and wounding two bystanders just three blocks from where the New Year's Eve ball was dropped an hour earlier Jan. 1.
The bullets Tevin Morrow fired ricocheted off the pavement, striking the two men in the ankle area.
Nobody was killed "but for the grace of God and that this defendant is a bad shot," said prosecutor Sara N. Ogden.
Innocent, law-abiding residents who attended the New Year's Eve festivities got caught "in the heinous gunfire," Ogden said, and they had not asked to run into someone such as Morrow.
Morrow, of Woodlawn Avenue, pleaded guilty May 10 to first- and second-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Senior Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico sentenced Morrow to 15 years for each of the first-degree assault and possession-of-a-weapon convictions and seven years for second-degree assault. The sentences will be served at the same time.
"The shame of it is this type of [criminal] activity discourages social activity in this city," D'Amico said.
"You're going to have to spend some time in state prison, Mr. Morrow," D'Amico said.
"I'm very sorry for the things I have done," Morrow told the judge during the hearing. "I hope I can be forgiven."
Kevin M. Gastle, 27, of the Town of Boston, and Daniel P. Gastle Jr., 34, of Orchard Park, had just left a wedding at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo when they were wounded by the gunfire.
Neither spoke at Morrow's sentencing, although D'Amico received victim-impact letters.
Outside the courtroom after the sentencing, Morrow's mother handed an apology letter to one of the victims.
"My son is not a monster. He's not a gang-banger," Morrow's mother said. "I hope you guys get better. I truly apologize."
"My client has been ready to accept responsibility," defense lawyer Douglas P. Stiller said. "I'm not seeking to justify or excuse his behavior. He is not seeking to justify or excuse his behavior. He is seeking to show the court true remorse for doing what he did."
Stiller told the judge that Morrow had earned a general equivalency diploma and attended anger-management classes since being locked up.