NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – The young teenager accused of shooting a teacher and student at Noblesville West Middle School May 25th made his first public appearance in court on Monday.
The teen was polite and respectful as he responded to questions from Hamilton County Magistrate Todd Ruetz, saying “Yes, sir,” “No, sir,” and, “I’m 13-years-old,” when asked if he understood his rights and was asked his correct age.
The boy with thick brown hair and glasses was dressed in an orange and white horizontally-stripped juvenile detention center jumpsuit with no handcuffs as he settled into his seat at the defense table flanked by his mother and father.
The man gently rubbed his son’s back during the hearing.
Magistrate Ruetz read the eleven charges, including two counts of attempted murder, that the boy will face as a juvenile, his age, and the survival of his alleged victims negating a potential waiver to the criminal court system.
The boy indicated he understood the charges, that he could not be impelled to testify against himself and that, if convicted, he faced an immediate future that could include incarceration in either a state or county juvenile facility or residential site, probation, restitution, psychiatric counseling or separation from his parents.
Magistrate Ruetz set a two-day hearing to commence on June 25 when the defense could request a waiver of speedy trial rules which now call for the boy’s case to be heard July 3.
Attending the hearing were Jason Seaman, the seventh grade science teacher praised for tackling the boy and disarming him of a .45 handgun and a .22 pistol.
Also in the gallery was Kylie Cook, a close friend of Ella Whistler, a seventh grader who was shot seven times.
“He’s never that formal,” said Cook of her classmate accused of the shooting. “He’s always more of a joking around kid. He never actually means what he’s saying and always just runs around and acts crazy with his friends, but seeing him that formal and, ‘Yes, sir,’ ‘No, sir,’ ‘Yes, Your Honor,’ that was just weird.
“He made an adult decision because you don’t think it’s right to bring a gun to school. You don’t think it’s okay to shoot someone and act like you’re gonna kill them.”
Cook said students have been instructed not to talk about the underlying motive for the shooting.
Haleigh Greer, a Ball State University Education Major who described herself and her friend as, “teachers in training,” also attended the hearing.
“We just saw him as a normal-looking student,” she said. “If we were to walk into a classroom it’s not something you would expect just by looking at him, but he definitely had good manners and it just seemed like reality was hitting him at the same time.”
At the conclusion of the hearing the child was escorted from the courtroom by Hamilton County Sheriffs deputies his own height, clad in bullet-resistant vests and returned to the Juvenile Detention Center.