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Las Vegas teen gets up to 25 years in prison for shooting at occupied home

Updated February 24, 2017 - 10:48 pm

Six days before his 17th birthday, Ayden McKinnon was ordered to serve up to 25 years behind bars for firing two shotgun blasts at the front door of a northwest valley home.

District Judge Michelle Leavitt sent McKinnon, who spent his previous two birthdays at the Clark County Detention Center, to prison this week for a minimum of seven years on one count of attempted murder and one count of discharging a firearm into a home.

In a sentencing memo, Chief Deputy District Attorney Tim Fattig argued that the teen bullied classmates, “played violent video games for hours on end and was obsessed with guns. He was preoccupied with the Russian military.”

Defense attorney Tom Pitaro argued for probation, asking the judge to allow McKinnon to undergo mental health therapy for autism and other disorders at Desert Willow Treatment Center.

McKinnon had just entered ninth grade in September 2014 when the Boy Scout was accused of firing twice from a 12-gauge shotgun through the front door of a house in the 7000 block of Maverick Street, knowing a family of four was home at the time.

The shooting occurred after a fallout with a friend over a girl. No one in the home was injured. McKinnon said he believed he would be killed by police in a shootout. He was hurt after a man inside the house returned fire.

If the incident had happened two weeks later, McKinnon might have avoided serving time with adults.

Two weeks after his arrest, Nevada law was changed to say that juvenile courts should have exclusive jurisdiction over anyone younger than 16 who is charged with attempted murder, though a judge still could decide to have such teens tried as adults.

The change in law regarding teens charged with felonies was approved in 2013, well before McKinnon was charged, but it did not go into effect until Oct. 1, 2014.

Fattig argued that the shooting nearly turned into a quadruple homicide, and he called McKinnon a dangerous teen who “will hurt more people” if released on probation.

“Now that he has committed such serious and terrifying crimes,” Fattig wrote, “we are now on notice, and we can now predict that he is capable of extreme irrational violence in the future.”

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