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Drive-by shooter to serve 11 to 14 years in prison

| May 8, 2024
Gavin Kurtz, 20, of New Philadelphia, at his sentencing in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court attempted murder, felonious assault, and gun charges. (WJER Radio)

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (May 8, 2024) – The gunman in last year’s drive-by shooting in New Philadelphia is beginning his sentence.

Gavin Kurtz will spend a mandatory five years in prison before another 6-to-9-year term for the underlying crimes of attempted murder, felonious assault, and improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle. Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Ernest doled out the punishment, which he hoped would deter others from committing similar offenses.

“To brandish and fire a gun as you’ve done in this case, and then when you do it at someone’s house with people on the porch – whether some of them were the intended target or not – it is a complete disregard. And it’s hard to imagine looking at you right now that you had that thought, that complete disregard of someone’s life.”

Prosecutor Ryan Styer characterized Kurtz as a young man with an otherwise bright future who succumbed to peer pressure.

“He is fortunate that no one died, because there were three people on that porch. One bullet impacted a concrete pillar, and one bullet went through the front door and two walls before coming to a rest, I believe on the kitchen floor. There was a man sleeping in that house.. and he said, ‘Had I been sitting in the chair I sit in in my living room, I might have died.’”

The 20-year-old sent the judge an apology letter and expressed his remorse in court. 

“I just want to apologize for even bringing us here today for this. It was as simple as me not pulling that trigger, and we wouldn’t be here.”

The driver in the October 23rd shooting on East High Avenue was Kurtz’s roommate at the time,  20-year-old Riley Adams, who is serving 13 years in prison. A third man is awaiting sentencing after admitting to his role, and four others are still facing charges. 

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