LIMA — Duran Tyson Jr. will spend his 18th birthday in prison.
He could spend the next 20 or more such celebrations behind bars, as well.
In an unexpected series of developments, the Lima teenager who earlier this year discharged a handgun in the direction of an Allen County Sheriff’s Office deputy on Tuesday pleaded guilty to attempted murder and two other counts as part of a negotiated plea deal with prosecutors.
Tyson, 17, will be sentenced Nov. 4 in Allen County Common Pleas Court after pleading guilty to three of the eight counts returned against him earlier this year by a grand jury. In addition to the attempted murder charge, a felony of the first degree, Tyson also pleaded to a first-degree felony count of aggravated robbery. Both charges carry firearm specifications that require a mandatory three-year prison sentence (a total of six years) that must be served before any remaining portions of the sentence can begin.
The teenager also entered a guilty to plea to a single count of carrying a concealed weapon.
In exchange for those pleas, the state agreed to dismiss charges of felonious assault, improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation, discharging a weapon near a prohibited premise, receiving stolen property and tampering with evidence.
Tyson could spend up to three decades in prison, although Judge Jeffrey Reed could impose a much lighter sentence based on new state sentencing guidelines. In attempting to explain to the teenager the possible sentencing options, Reed was blunt. “It’s hard to explain this, and I’m sure it’s hard to understand, too,” he said.
Tyson was arraigned last month in Allen County Common Pleas Court after his case was bound over from juvenile court. The charges against him stem from the May 30 armed robbery of a Bluelick Road convenience store. Through his guilty pleas, Tyson admitted he took part in that robbery and that he fired a weapon at Deputy Barry Friemoth on the streets of Lima early the following morning as police investigated the robbery.
Surveillance videos inside the gas station show two black males — one of whom brandished a weapon — enter the store at approximately 10 p.m. May 30, took cash from the register and fled in a black vehicle, authorities said at the time.
A short time later, the males believed to have been involved in the robbery were spotted in the 1100 block of Reese Avenue. Deputies continued to monitor the vicinity and at approximately 2:50 a.m. Tyson was observed walking in the area. After seeing a marked sheriff’s cruiser, the juvenile “began to flee toward his residence,” according to a statement from the Allen County Sheriff’s Office.
Friemoth observed Tyson and ordered him to stop, at which time the teenage fired multiple rounds at the deputy. At least two bullets struck an unmarked cruiser, and at least one round struck a residence. Friemoth did not return fire but did chase Tyson into his Reese Avenue home.
The perimeter of the home was secured by the Allen County SWAT team and other law enforcement personnel. At approximately 4:44 a.m. Tyson exited the home, escorted by his mother, and was taken into custody without incident.
Allen County Sheriff Matt Treglia held a press conference later that morning in which he praised Friemoth for choosing not to return gunfire in a residential setting.