- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 1, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A 14-year-old Utah boy accused of taking his mother’s handgun from a closet and shooting another teen twice in the head during a planned fight should be tried as an adult on attempted murder and other charges, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The comments came after a judge held the first court hearing in the case, though the boy’s lawyer Tasha Williams successfully sought to keep him out of the courtroom because news cameras were present. The cameras were approved by a judge to film the courtroom, but Utah court rules forbid filming of juvenile defendants.

The Associated Press is not naming the boy because it does not normally name juvenile defendants.

The teen is accused of critically wounding a 16-year-old behind a middle school in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy on Oct. 25. The two teenagers had a longstanding conflict and the defendant told his adversary he would reunite him with his deceased mother, prosecutors said in charging documents.

After firing the shots, the shooter fell to his knees and a teacher grabbed the gun out of his hand, prosecutors said. When police arrived and officers asked who the shooter was he said, “I am,” prosecutors said.

The victim is still hospitalized and his condition was recently upgraded to stable condition from critical condition.

The younger teen brought the gun to school because he was afraid the older boy would “do something” to him, prosecutors said. He told police he thought he would point the weapon and scare the other boy, but opened fire after the 16-year-old walked toward him.

He showed two other juveniles the weapon in his backpack before the fight, prosecutors said.

The shooting happened along a main pathway out Union Middle School as students were leaving for the day and was witnessed by dozens of people, police have said.

The teen was charged in juvenile court on Monday with attempted murder, two counts of felony discharge of a firearm and one count of possessing a firearm on school premises. He is due back in court Nov. 10.

Investigators have said they do not think gang involvement was a factor in the dispute.

The defendant is an eighth-grader at Union Middle and the 16-year-old victim is a junior at nearby Hillcrest High School, officials have said.

The 14-year-old is being held at a juvenile detention center.


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