A Michigan man who shot a 6-year-old Black boy and was quickly freed from jail because of extremely low bail has been forced to surrender and return to police custody after his bond was increased exponentially.
Ryan Le-Nguyen, 29, was charged with assault with intent to murder and stands accused of shooting the unidentified boy in the arm on Sunday afternoon in Ypsilanti Township for the offense of leaving his bicycle in the man’s yard. He was also hit with two gun charges. Prior to shooting the boy from inside his own home, Le-Nguyen also allegedly attacked the boy with a sledgehammer. The entire incident was recorded by a home surveillance video camera.
Yet, despite that serious criminal charge and video evidence, a judge on Monday set Le-Nguyen’s bail at just $10,000, 10% — or $1,000 — of which was needed to secure his freedom. Le-Nguyen was quickly bailed out.
On Thursday, following community outcry from both members of law enforcement as well as civilians, a different judge increased Le-Nguyen’s bond to $100,000, prompting him to turn himself in. The terms of his bond are different this time around, too, as the full $100,000 and not 10% of it is required for his release.
As of Friday morning, there were no reports that Le-Nguyen had left police custody.
The unfortunate and violent encounter between Le-Nguyen and the boy took place about 4:30 p.m. Sunday. The Detroit Free-Press reported that the boy was playing outside with his two young friends, 9 and 14, when Le-Nguyen apparently took umbrage to the noise they were making and emerged from his home with a sledgehammer.
“He tried hitting me with a sledgehammer but that’s not going to work because I’m too fast,” Coby told FOX 2 News in an interview that was packaged with surveillance footage from the encounter.
Le-Nguyen is accused of then retreating into his home, getting a gun and firing it through a window and hitting the boy. The bullet entered and exited his left arm and left him with a non-life-threatening injury.
The boy described the moment he was shot: “He got a gun and BOOM shot me right here.”
Before Le-Nguyen’s bond was increased Thursday, Derrick Jackson, the public information officer for the Washtenaw Sheriff’s Office, told USA Today that his office had been getting phone calls from the community complaining about the low bail.
That helped prompt Eli Savit, the prosecuting attorney in Washtenaw County handling the case, to have his office file an emergency motion to cancel Le-Nguyen’s bail. He wrote Wednesday on Facebook that he and his office “disagree” with the low bail and charged him “with the highest possible available charges.”
The Facebook post included a video explaining Savit’s position on the case.
“We share in the community’s pain and anger from a child being shot. And we know that, for many, the pain and anger is compounded by the fact that the defendant was able to make his bond as set by the court,” Savit added before continuing later: “our office recommended significantly more restrictive bond conditions, and we disagree with the bond decision that was handed down by the court.”
On Thursday, Savit underscored the significance Le-Nguyen returning to police custody.
“We are glad the defendant is back in custody, to ensure the safety of the community,” Savit said. “[He] was shot in the arm, but a couple of inches over and he would be dead.”
The restaurant for which Le-Nguyen used to work has been facing boycotts from the community despite owners’ insistence that he hasn’t worked there since 2005.
The restaurant, Pho House, made sure to emphasize that it does “not condone [Le-Nguyen’s] actions” and said he was not related to any of the owner’s family members.