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'You deserve all of this.' Man sentenced to 9 years for gang-related shooting of teenager in Hammond.
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'You deserve all of this.' Man sentenced to 9 years for gang-related shooting of teenager in Hammond.

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CROWN POINT — A man sentenced to nine years in prison for the gang-related shooting of a 16-year-old boy in Hammond said Wednesday he wanted to be a counselor for young people after he finished his prison term.

Vashaun M. Walsh, 19, was sentenced Wednesday to nine years in prison for aggravated battery in the shooting of a 16-year-old boy on April 4, 2016, in the 1300 block of Lake View Avenue. The boy was treated for multiple gunshot wounds, which shattered his femur.

Walsh also was convicted of criminal gang activity. He admitted in a plea agreement last month he shot the boy to gain respect in the Ambrose street gang. The boy was allegedly a member of the Latin Kings.

Walsh read a letter Wednesday he had written to Judge Salvador Vasquez.

He said he was at a low point in his life and spending time with the “wrong crowd” at the time of the shooting. He said he thought every day about the pain and suffering he caused the boy and his family.

Walsh said after he finished his prison term he wanted to counsel youth.

“I want to use my mistake to help others heading down the wrong path,” he said.

The judge noted Walsh's family was in the courtroom, fighting back tears as Walsh read his letter. He told Walsh he was fortunate to have his family's support, but he could lose that if he continued to commit crimes.

“You deserve all this,” Vasquez said. “But doesn't your family deserve better?”

They did, Walsh agreed.

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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.

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