13-year-old Indiana boy admits to May school shooting

A 13-year-old boy admitted Monday to shooting and wounding a classmate and a teacher at a suburban Indianapolis school in May, saying in a statement read by his attorneys during a juvenile court hearing that, "If I could, I would take it back."

Posted: Nov 5, 2018 1:52 PM
Updated: Nov 5, 2018 1:52 PM

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A 13-year-old boy admitted Monday to shooting and wounding a classmate and a teacher at a suburban Indianapolis school in May, saying in a statement read by his attorneys during a juvenile court hearing that, "If I could, I would take it back."

The boy entered a Hamilton County courtroom for the hearing dressed in an orange-and-white striped jumpsuit and took a seat next to his parents.

During the hearing, the youth admitted to the shooting — an admission that would be a guilty plea if he had been charged as an adult in the May 25 attack at Noblesville West Middle School, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Indianapolis.

Hamilton Circuit Court Judge Paul Felix said he would not render a decision Monday on the disposition in the case, which would be a sentencing if the boy had been charged as an adult. His options include ordering the boy to serve probation, to spend time in a mental health treatment center or to be held at a state juvenile detention center.

Prosecutors told the court 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 Noblesville West Middle School, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The Associated Press isn't using the boy's name because he's charged as a juvenile .

Authorities said the boy shot seventh-grade science teacher Jason Seaman and 13-year-old classmate Ella Whistler . Seaman, who was shot three times, attended Monday's hearing with his wife.

When the boy's mother took the stand to testify, she turned to Seaman and apologized.

"Mr. Seaman, I'm sorry. I'm sorry this happened to you," she said.

The boy sat stoically for much of the hearing but began to tear up when his mom spoke, prompting his dad to hand him a tissue.

Prosecutors said that the day before the shooting the boy had filmed a video in his family's basement in which he made threats of violence and showed two handguns.

"Tomorrow's Friday, you know what that means. I have to take other people's lives before I take my own," prosecutors said the boy says in the video. "It's gonna be fun."

The boy's attorneys read aloud a statement from the boy where he apologized to both Seaman and Whistler.

"I wish I could have been the geeky jokester who annoyed you," the boy's statement said in reference to Whistler, who was shot seven times.

"Sorry I'm not a very good writer. If I could, I would take it back," the boy said in his statement. "Sorry to Ella and Mr. (Jason) Seaman. Ella, I'm sorry for the pain I've caused you."

The day of the shooting, prosecutors said the teen asked to be excused from Seaman's class, then returned with two handguns and began shooting. Prosecutors said Seaman, who often carries a small basketball in the classroom, threw the ball at the boy, then tackled the youth.

A backpack believed to be the boy's was found in a school restroom and contained a box of a hundred rounds for one of the two handguns, as well as magazine rounds for a pistol that was found at the boy's home, prosecutors said.

If the boy had been charged as an adult, he would have faced 11 counts, including attempted murder and aggravated battery. The case would only have been waived to adult court if he was accused in a killing, said Hamilton County prosecutor D. Lee Buckingham.

Someone as young as 12 can be tried as an adult for murder, he said.

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