A Charlottesville man will serve one year in jail after a shooting at a Downtown Mall restaurant in July.
Tayveyon Laric Brown, 19 was charged with felony malicious shooting into an occupied dwelling after he fired several shots in Commonwealth Skybar during a crowded Friday night.
Brown had just turned 18 when he was arrested; he was a recent high school graduate with plans to attend college in Pennsylvania later that same month.
Prior to his sentencing, the commonwealth presented evidence that shed more light on why Brown shot his gun.
Nina-Alice Antony, senior-assistant commonwealth’s attorney for the city, said Brown was very lucky that none of the bullets struck anyone. One of the bullets likely would have struck a woman in Commonwealth Skybar had she not moved after hearing the first gunshot.
“I’m not telling you this to make you feel bad, but you need to understand that your actions could have very easily caused serious harm or even death,” Antony said to Brown.
During testimony, Brown told Antony he had fired the shots after being denied entry to a party across the street from Commonwealth Skybar. He said it had not been his intention to harm anyone, but that he let his anger get the better of him.
Brown also admitted to being under the influence of Xanax at the time, something he would use to self-medicate his anger.
“Xanax helped me with my anger, calmed me down and made me feel better,” he said.
Since his arrest, Brown said he has been diagnosed as having bipolar disorder and received treatment while behind bars. He also has attended anger management and substance abuse classes.
Antony said that while the commonwealth was pleased to see Brown getting help, his actions were serious and warranted a sentence above the guidelines, which recommend probation with no jail time.
The commonwealth requested an 18-month active sentence, with time served factored in.
Brown’s attorney agreed with the prosecution that some jail time was appropriate, but requested a shorter active sentence of 12 months.
After mulling the decision for several minutes, Judge Daniel Bouton sided with the defense and sentenced Brown to 10 years in jail with all but 12 months suspended. After Brown is released from jail, he must join the Community Corrections Alternative Program and remain on supervised probation for three years.
“It’s not your fault that you have a mental health condition — it’s not different than a physical condition, in that sense — but you’ve got to take responsibility for your actions and how you react,” Bouton said to Brown.