Two plead guilty in connection with 2018 Hanover drive-by shooting

By JOHN LIPPMAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 03-25-2022 10:03 PM

NORTH HAVERHILL — Two men charged in a drive-by shooting that wounded a visiting college student near the Dartmouth College campus in 2018 each pleaded guilty in Grafton Superior Court on Wednesday and were sentenced to multiple-year prison terms. The mother of the shooting victim told the court that her son “will forever bear the physical and emotional scars of that night for the rest of his life.”

Gage Young, 25, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was sentenced by Judge Lawrence MacLeod Jr. to between four to 10 years in prison, with credit for time served of one year and 82 days. Young, who had been out on bail and living with his parents in West Lebanon, was ordered incarcerated immediately.

He also pleaded guilty to reckless conduct, for which he received a 3½- to seven-year prison sentence, all suspended for a period of 15 years.

Hector Correa, 20, likewise pleaded guilty to second degree assault and received a four- to 10-year sentence, all suspended for a period of 15 years.

In addition, he pleaded guilty to reckless conduct with a deadly weapon, for which he received a 3½- to seven-year sentence.

Correa, who was being held in the Grafton County House of Corrections in North Haverhill related to charges in a different state, will serve his sentence on the reckless conduct count in state prison in Concord.

Both men had initially pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree assault with a firearm, second-degree assault with a firearm and reckless conduct with a deadly weapon in the Nov. 2, 2018, shooting of Thomas Elliott, a Providence College student who was walking with friends on School Street in downtown Hanover while visiting a friend at Dartmouth College. Elliott was struck in the back but recovered.

“We have cried so many tears. Our hearts are broken. Our sense that people are intrinsically good, shattered,” Elliott’s mother told the court in her impact statement broadcast by WMUR-TV. “Why would these two men try to kill our child? We are haunted by what-ifs.”

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Both Young, the son of a former Lebanon Police officer and a 2014 graduate of Lebanon High School who played on the basketball team, and Correa, also from Lebanon and who was 17 at the time of the shooting, made brief statements to the court.

“I accept full responsibility for my actions and the charges I am signing for here today. I’m sorry and feel terrible for the choices of that night and what I did,” said Young, dressed in a dark suit jacket and tie.

“I apologize for wasting everybody’s time in here,” Correa said, dressed in a bright red sweatshirt and wearing a necklace with a medallion cross. “It’s been going on for 3½ years. Just as much as you’re tired of it, I’m tired of it and just want it to be over,” according to the WMUR report.

Elliott, a Massachusetts resident who was a freshman at Providence College at the time, was visiting friends at Dartmouth for a Halloween party and was walking with a group of people on School Street in downtown Hanover near the Consolidated Communications telecommunications building when he was struck in the back by a bullet fired from a passing car, police said.

Elliott was taken and treated at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center as police commenced a search for the suspect’s vehicle.

About 90 minutes later, responding to reports of gun shots in the vicinity the former Allard’s Furniture building on Route 10 in West Lebanon, police identified the suspected vehicle and gave chase, at times reaching speeds of nearly 90 mph, before it crashed near Oak Ridge Road and police apprehended the suspects. Police determined that Correa was driving the vehicle.

Although investigators determined that the shooting of Elliott was random and although Correa implicated Young as the person who discharged the gun into the group of students, Young’s attorney disputed Correa’s claims.

The trial judge eventually consolidated Correa’s and Young’s cases, and it was scheduled to go to trial when a plea deal was struck.

Grafton County Attorney Marcie Hornick acknowledged the 3½-year case “dragged on” but in part attributed the long delay to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has backed up court calendars.

“We’re just glad this case is finally done and hopefully Tommy Elliott, his family and the other victims can find some solace that this is finally over,” Hornick said.

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.

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