High School Musical 3 star Justin Martin is opening up after being sentenced to 18 months in jail and one year probation earlier this week.
As we told you, the 22-year-old pleaded guilty to five different gun charges regarding a shootout with cops last summer in Massachusetts.
In a statement to People, Justin penned:
"I have matured a great deal in the past year and had to learn some hard lessons because of my actions. I should have acted more responsibly and taken my choices more seriously."
Martin said he's been making efforts since the incident to learn from his mistakes and educate others on gun violence:
"This last year, I have been speaking at schools in Boston and educating high school students about making good choices, anti-gun violence and drug awareness. I focus on being accountable for your actions and emphasize that one mistake doesn't have to define your life. I appreciate everyone's support, especially my family and friends for standing by me and knowing that my choices that night are not reflective of my true character. I look forward to moving past this time in my life and getting back to my career. Thank you for all the positive messages and support."
The actor's attorney said his client has "accepted responsibility for his mistakes," explaining:
"The incident was a confrontation initiated by others who have a long history with law enforcement, and Justin reacted in a way that was inconsistent with his character. At no time did Justin ever fire a gun at police officers. However, there was a circumstance when he pointed a gun at an officer who arrived in an unmarked car wearing plain clothes, mistakenly believing that they were part of the group of attackers. Justin's attackers fired at police and also fired at Justin. Martin was offered a plea agreement that was the minimum possible sentence by the court, but it is a mandatory sentence in the state for possession of a firearm. Justin has no prior confrontations with law enforcement and is hopeful that he can move forward from this unfortunate incident."
[Image via WENN.]