NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A 13-year-old boy who opened fire inside his Indiana middle school, wounding a classmate and a teacher before being tackled by the teacher, was expected to learn his punishment on Wednesday.
The boy apologized during a hearing last week for shooting seventh-grade science teacher Jason Seaman and 13-year-old Ella Whistler during the May 25 attack at Noblesville West Middle School in suburban Indianapolis. The boy’s admission to the crime in juvenile court is similar to a guilty plea in adult court.
Prosecutors have recommended the boy be sent to the Indiana Department of Correction for placement in a state juvenile detention facility for rehabilitation, and that he be placed on probation until his 21st birthday. But the boy’s defense attorneys want him sent to a private residential treatment center, arguing that he needs therapy and not exposure to older teenagers at a maximum security juvenile jail.
Hamilton County Circuit Court Judge Paul Felix could impose either of those dispositions, which are the juvenile court equivalent of a sentencing, during Wednesday’s hearing. The judge also has several other options.
The Associated Press isn’t using the boy’s name because he is charged as a juvenile.
Prosecutors said during last week’s hearing that the boy found the keys to a basement safe in his family’s home, unlocked it and removed two handguns and more than 100 rounds of ammunition that he brought to the school in a backpack.
Prosecutors said the boy “is obsessed with violence being committed upon innocent people.” Investigators said that the day before the shooting, he filmed a video in his family’s basement in which he showed two handguns and said: “Tomorrow’s Friday, you know what that means. I have to take other people’s lives before I take my own.”
Whistler survived after being shot seven times. The teacher, Seaman, was shot three times. He testified last week that the boy returned to his classroom from a bathroom break and opened fire.
Seaman, a former college football player, said he threw a miniature basketball at the boy as he fired shots, and then tackled the youth and disarmed him.
Investigators testified that the boy’s online history was filled with searches for school shootings, including the day before the shooting, when he allegedly searched for “What was the largest mass shooting in America” and looked for a “blueprint” of the school in Noblesville, which is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Indianapolis.
By RICK CALLAHAN
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