Attorney calls for an end to youth violence at sentencing

Nineteen-year-old Evan Holmes will now serve a 1½-year sentence for shooting another teenager in the foot last year in the midst of an ongoing dispute between two groups of young people in New London.

The victim of the shooting, 17-year-old Idris Elahi, has since been charged with fatally stabbing a man and is in prison awaiting trial on murder charges.

Holmes had pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and admitted that he violated the terms of his probation. He had been on probation for an earlier assault conviction that stemmed from a fight in school, according to court testimony.

Noting a number of youths had come to court in support of Holmes at his sentencing Monday, Public Defender Bruce A. Sturman called on them to stop the violence.

"We have seen an alarming increase in violence, deadly violence, among our young people," Sturman said. He said he has seen too many teens coming out of the door from the courthouse lockup to face serious charges stemming from assaults and shootings. The sentences for such crimes are lengthy, he said.

"To me it seems such a tremendous waste," Sturman said. "I urge upon them, think twice before you act."

Sturman described Holmes as "a good kid who did a stupid and criminal thing."

Prosecutor Stephen M. Carney said Holmes was trying to resolve a fight between two groups of people when he fired a shot into the ground and Elahi was struck in the foot. The two teens had known each other for years.

Elahi is accused of fatally stabbing Matthew Chew in New London on Oct. 29, 2010. While neither he nor his family were in court, Holmes apologized to them.

"In no way, shape or form were my actions acceptable," Holmes said. "I apologize to Idris and his family for the harm I did and I wish the family the best of luck given their circumstances."

- Karin Florin

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