14-year-old boy charged in father’s killing, school shooting

Townville Elementary School, Townville, SC (Photo: WSPA)
Townville Elementary School, Townville, SC (Photo: WSPA)

ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) — A 14-year-old South Carolina boy was charged as a juvenile Friday with murder and three counts of attempted murder after authorities say he killed his father and opened fire on students at a school playground, wounding three people.

The boy did not show any emotion as he walked into the courtroom wearing a yellow jumpsuit. He was unrestrained, not wearing handcuffs or leg shackles, as required by state law in most juvenile cases.

Related Content: 2 kids, teacher shot at Townville Elementary School; Teen arrested

His lawyer, Frank Epps, noted that the teen has given a statement to law enforcement and asked that investigators not question him again without his lawyer present. The judge agreed to that, and ordered the teen to be held in jail.

The boy’s mother sat on the front row during the brief hearing and left the courtroom sobbing and leaning on another woman.

The Associated Press typically does not identify juveniles charged with crimes.

Authorities say the teen shot his 47-year-old father Jeffrey Osborne at their home on Wednesday afternoon before driving a pickup truck 3 miles down a country road to Townville Elementary. The teen — who is not old enough to have a driver’s license — had to make only two turns to arrive at the red brick school, where he crashed the truck, got out and started firing during recess.

Bullets struck two students, critically injuring one of them, and a first-grade teacher. The building was immediately placed on lock down.

Authorities have not released a motive for the killing or the school shooting. They have said the boy was being homeschooled, but have not explained why.

Prosecutors haven’t given any indication about whether they will ask to try the teen as an adult. When juveniles accused of violent crimes are 14 or 15, a prosecutor has 30 days to ask a family court judge to try the teen as an adult. If denied, the prosecutor can appeal to the circuit court, which can order the transfer. Sixteen-year-olds accused of murder are automatically tried as an adult in South Carolina.

Related Content: Teen’s mother ‘shocked and saddened’ by school shooting

Anderson 4 Superintendent Joanne Avery said staff saved lives by flawlessly implementing active-shooter training drills conducted with students at Townville Elementary, most recently as last week.

A teacher, though shot in the shoulder, “was with-it enough” to close the door, lock it and barricade the students, Avery said.

“If he’d gotten in the school, it would’ve been a different scenario,” she said.

The shooter then fired toward students on the playground but missed. A teacher who heard the first gunshot was able to get those students safely inside, Avery said.

Relatives of one of the wounded, 6-year-old Jacob Hall, said he remained on life support in a hospital. His family issued a statement late Thursday saying the boy sustained a major brain injury due to the amount of blood he lost after being shot in the leg.

His older brother, Gerald Gambrell, told The Greenville News (http://grnol.co/2dJQVut) that the family is “hoping for a miracle.”

A sign outside a diner conveyed the sentiments of an entire community: “Pray for Jacob. Pray for Townville.”

The shot teacher and another student who was hit in the foot were treated and released from a hospital, officials said.

Classes are scheduled to resume at the school Monday.


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s