Boy accused of bringing gun to school faces attempted murder charge

Boy accused of bringing gun to school faces attempted murder charge »Play Video
The 11-year-old boy stands in front of his parents during a court hearing on Oct. 29. KATU is not identifying the boy due to his age.

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- An 11-year-old boy who last week allegedly took a gun and more than 400 rounds of ammunition to his middle school faces an attempted murder charge and five other criminal charges, according to court documents released Tuesday.

The juvenile court initially found probable cause only for an attempted assault charge and two other counts, but the Clark County Prosecutor's Office later upgraded the charge to first-degree attempted murder, the court documents show.

A juvenile court administrator ruled Tuesday that the boy should remain in custody.

After the ruling, the boy yelled expletives at the court commissioner and security members. Court commissioners hear family law and juvenile cases, while occasionally substituting for Superior Court judges.

Court documents released Tuesday show the boy faces five other criminal charges beyond the attempted murder charge - theft of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm, and three counts of possessing dangerous weapons at a school facility.

The newly released documents say the boy originally planned to cut and shoot his victim on Monday or Tuesday of last week as buses were loading after school, so that it would be witnessed by students and staff.

But he didn't follow through on those days because he was having trouble figuring out how to shoot the gun. On Wednesday, however, he had figured out how to disengage the safety, court documents say.

He then decided to shoot his victim during first-period band class, but then changed his mind again and intended to carry out the shooting later.

Prosecutors called the boy’s plan “calculated” during Tuesday's court hearing. They said the boy took the gun from his parents and hid it several days before he brought it to Frontier Middle School, and that he brought it to school twice before he was caught with it.

When a school staff member approached the boy, he responded by saying “you don’t know what I’m capable of,” according to prosecutors.

"I see him as a risk to himself. I see him as a risk to others. There's a six-year-old sister in the home. As an older sibling in the home, in good conscience, I can't make any kind of recommendation that he be released at this time," said Deputy Prosecutor Rick Olson.

The doctor who evaluated the boy’s mental health said she has concerns he is a threat to the community. The boy has a long history of outbursts, which have increased in the last year, the doctor said.

The doctor also said three mental health professionals told the boy’s parents to secure their home, which they did not do at the time. The boy has difficulty taking orders from his parents, the doctor said.

The boy's lawyer, John Lutgens, claimed the gun the boy brought to school was disabled, and that his parents knew that. Lutgens also said they are still looking into that claim.

The boy was taken into police custody on Wednesday after his mother called Frontier Middle School and said she was worried her son had brought knives to school.

School officials immediately pulled the child into the principal's office.

That's when they say they discovered the boy was carrying an unloaded .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun in one of his pants pockets and two loaded .22-caliber magazines in another pocket. More ammunition and the knives were found in the boy's backpack, police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said.

According to police, the boy told officers that "a voice in his head" was telling him to kill a fellow student who had been bullying another boy and had been calling him gay. The boy said he had planned to shoot the 'bully' in the arm and then shoot himself in the head.

The family of the boy who was the intended targeted released a statement Friday, thanking the school for its quick response, hopeful the boy will learn from his actions and saying their son was not a bully, but instead the victim.

The boy's next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 12.